Gold prices soared to an unprecedented peak on Monday, driven by a complex interplay of economic factors including investor anticipation of interest rate cuts, a weakening dollar, and ongoing geopolitical tensions. The surge saw gold prices escalate by as much as 3% in Monday's trading, reaching a remarkable $2,135 per ounce.
This leap surpassed the previous record of $2,072 set in August 2020, although prices later settled to $2,023 by 11.57 a.m. ET. The rise in gold prices comes amidst a backdrop of growing confidence among investors that the US Federal Reserve may have successfully curbed inflation through its aggressive interest rate hikes.
There is increasing speculation that the Fed might start reducing borrowing costs as early as March next year, a move that typically influences market dynamics significantly.
The Impact of Interest Rates and the Dollar on Gold
The relationship between interest rates and gold prices is a nuanced one.
Higher interest rates usually enhance the yields on assets like US Treasuries, attracting more investors. However, when interest rates are low, falling, or expected to decrease, as is currently the case, the appeal of Treasuries diminishes.
Consequently, gold, which does not yield any interest, becomes a more attractive investment. The yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bill, which hit a 16-year high of 5% in mid-October, has since declined to 4.3% on Monday.
Daria Efanova, head of research at Sucden Financial, noted in a statement, “The expectations of the end of the tightening cycle have been priced in, pushing longer-term yields lower. This has created a more favorable environment for gold as a non-yielding asset”.
Additionally, predictions of multiple rate cuts over the next year have impacted the US dollar, further enhancing gold's appeal. A higher interest rate typically bolsters a currency's value, attracting international capital, and the converse happens when rates drop.
Last month, the dollar weakened by 3% against a basket of six major currencies. As gold is priced in US dollars, this decrease has made gold less expensive for international investors, potentially boosting demand and, in turn, escalating gold prices.
John Reade, a market strategist at the World Gold Council, told CNN, “With investors predicting several rate cuts over the next year, gold prices could quite possibly shoot above Monday’s record high”.