The price of gold has made slight gains in the past 24 hours, peaking at $1,576.46 per ounce just before midnight as the Asian markets opened and reacted to the latest coronavirus news.
Prices today have risen due to the confirmation that the coronavirus death toll has now surpassed that of SARS. The UK today reported four new cases of coronavirus, while in Japan the Nissan car factory in Kyushu has suspended production while the virus is still prevalent.
The precious metal had been knocked back on Friday when the US Dollar hit a range of peak valuations against the basket of major currencies such as the Pound Sterling, Euro, Swiss Franc, and Canadian Dollar. The Dollar gained 1.3% last week, which was its biggest gain for over two years. This put it at a six-week high against the Swiss Franc, a two-month high against the Pound and the Canadian Dollar, and a four-month high against the Euro.
The US Dollar’s surge followed the release of the US payroll data on Friday. The non-farm payrolls showed an increase in employment in America of 225,000 jobs in January; much higher than the 160,000 forecast and an indicator – at least in the eyes of investors – that the United States economy is firing on all thrusters and worth their backing.
The Dollar’s gains hurt gold, as shown in the week price chart below, with a 1.2% drop in the gold price to $1,574 per ounce. Safe haven demand has been strong in 2020 so far though, so the Dollar’s gains haven’t deterred gold investors too much, and reactionary demand regarding the potential for conflict between the US and Iran has arguably skewed some of the percentage swings visible in price charts due to the dramatic rise in price on January 8.
Jobs may be up at present in the US, especially considering the warmer-than-usual temperatures for this time of the year benefiting industries such as construction, but the Department of Labor has consistently released revised employment figures 2-4 weeks later, usually lowering the employment figure. By the time this happens though most investors have already committed to the cause, so the news gains less traction than the initial report.
Beyond this, the outlook for gold in the coming weeks and months is still positive. The coronavirus is demonstrably concerning consumers and investors alike. In addition to this, the United States has reported a rise in wage inflation; the concept that a rise in wages – usually from a well-performing economy – results in an increase of the cost of goods and services due to a capacity to afford more. Gold historically performs well in times of inflation, with investors keen to protect their wealth against depreciation.