Prices climbed above $1,770/oz on Friday as hopes that central bank measures to stimulate growth will boost liquidity, fuel inflation and keep interest rates very low.
Gold rose back above $1,770 an ounce on Friday as expectations that central bank measures to stimulate growth would boost liquidity, fuel inflation and keep interest rates at rock bottom put the metal on track for a fifth straight week of gains.
Gains in other markets also supported bullion. European shares and the euro rose back up and oil rebounded from a 1-1/2 month low as investors moved back into markets still feeling the benefits of central bank support measures.
Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,773.44 an ounce at 0945 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up $6.10 an ounce at $1,776.30.
The Bank of Japan is the latest central bank to unveil easing measures this week, after the Federal Reserve announced an aggressive asset purchasing programme and the European Central Bank unveiled plans this month to buy bonds of the bloc's heavily indebted countries.
The Fed move in particular, which will see it buy $40 billion a month in mortgage-backed debt until the outlook for the labour market improves, helped push spot gold to 6-1/2 month highs at $1,779.10 an ounce.
"With the open-ended scheme to print as much dollars as needed until the U.S. economy recovers, gold's uptrend has fewer barricades on the way at least to earlier highs," Richcomm Global Services senior analyst Pradeep Unni said.
"Charts hint at a major resistance at $1,787-$1,790, where we have failed thrice earlier," he added. "Thus, consecutive closing above $1,790 will be a necessity to avoid a profit-taking correction."
The Fed measures have boosted interest in gold exchange-traded funds, popular investment vehicles that issue securities backed by physical metal.
Holdings of ETFs tracked by Reuters, which includes the SPDR Gold Trust and products operated by London's ETF Securities and Zurich Cantonalbank, have risen 272,302 ounces so far this week, though they have retreated from record highs.
"Once again, the rise in prices has gone hand in hand with inflows into ETFs," Commerzbank said in a note.
STRIKE REPORTED AT ANGLOGOLD
Disruption in the South African mining industry, which earlier this month helped drive platinum prices to levels not seen since late February, showed signs of spreading on Friday.
Workers have embarked on an illegal strike at a mine run by world No. 3 bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti, a company spokesman said on Friday. He said the mine has 5,000 workers and that strikers had not yet communicated their demands.
The disruption comes a day after thousands reported back for work at platinum producer Lonmin after a wage hike deal was reached to end six weeks of industrial action and protest in which 45 people died.
"Headlines out of South Africa continue to capture market's attention despite the agreement reached at Lonmin this week," UBS said in a note. "On the one hand, the end of the nearly six-week-old strike is a positive development as operations can now begin to normalise."
"But on the other hand, the company has now deemed to have set a precedent, with the workers' successful call for wage increases likely to fuel discontent elsewhere," it added. "This puts pressure on other producers to face the same calls and so places further supply risks for platinum over the weeks ahead."
Spot platinum was up 0.6 percent at $1,631.25 an ounce. Among other precious metals, spot palladium was up 1.4 percent at $669.47 an ounce, while spot silver was up 0.6 percent at $34.78 an ounce.
Data from Chinese customs officials showed China's silver imports fell 3.4 pct on the year to 304,216 kg in August, while the year-to-August number dropped 25 percent.
Palladium imports fell 31.53 percent on the year, but platinum imports jumped 43 pct. (Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Source: Reuters 2012