Bullion prices are often boosted from global uncertainties, with gold considered a safe haven choice for investors in times of economic or political crisis. The world economy is currently under pressure from Brexit to-ing and fro-ing, an ongoing trade war between the United States and China, as well as weakness across the eurozone economy. Gold could also flourish from the Federal Reserve’s less aggressive stance on interest rates, which were left unchanged at the end of March and indicated there will be no more hikes this year. The yellow metal tends to rise on expectations of lower interest rates, which reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
The squeeze on the global economy and softer interest rates could be a recipe for gold to push higher, according to Martin Huxley, global head of precious metals at financial services company INTL FCStone.
Mr Huxley told CNBC that gold prices look set to rise from the £933 ($1,217) to £1,019 ($1,330) per ounce range they have been stuck in for much of the year.
He said: “I think that we expect gold to continue to trade pretty much within that range for the coming months.
“But over the second half of the year we expect it then to grind higher, and potentially it could test 1,400 towards the end of the year.”
The price of spot gold is currently at £977 ($1,275) per ounce at 3.08pm UK time.
The popularity of gold was underscored earlier this year when it was revealed central banks purchasing the highest amount of the precious metal in nearly 50 years and the second-largest ever annual total on record in 2018.
According to the World Gold Council (WGC), net purchases climbed by an additional 651.5 tonnes to reach a total of 4,345.1 tonnes, the largest bought by central banks since 1967.
Not only was it 74 percent higher than in 2017 when 4,159.9 tonnes were purchased, but the 2018 total marked the second largest amount purchased on record since 1971.
The WGC confirmed the precious metal’s status as a safe haven investment helped spark the gold rush.
It said in a report: “Heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainty throughout the year increasingly drove central banks to diversify their reserves and re-focus their attention on the principal objective of investing in safe and liquid assets.”
The biggest buyer of gold was Russia, followed by Turkey and Kazakhstan, the WGC said.
Consulting firm Metals Focus Ltd said at the time that it expects central banks to acquire an additional 600 tonnes this year.
Elsewhere, palladium was trading at £1,054 ($1,375.42) at the time of publication.
Platinum was worth £679 ($886) while silver was trading at £11.50 ($14.99).
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