Picture: 123RF/olegdudko
Picture: 123RF/olegdudko

Bengaluru — Gold prices climbed more than 1% on Tuesday to their highest in six years as the dollar weakened on prospects of monetary easing by the Federal Reserve, while simmering US-Iran tensions drove investors towards the safe-haven bullion.

Spot gold was up 1.2% at $1,435.45/oz and was heading for a sixth consecutive session of gains. Earlier in the session, the yellow metal touched $1,438.63, its highest since May 14 2013. US gold futures jumped 1.6% to $1,440.20/oz.

Bets for lower interest rates, a weaker US dollar and tensions in the Middle East are providing an ideal environment for gains in gold prices, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

US President Donald Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials with sanctions on Monday to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone.

Bullion’s lure was further boosted by a weaker dollar, which slipped to a three-month low on Tuesday on bets that the Fed may lower interest rates before year-end on mounting worries about the fallout from tariff wars.

The standoff between Washington and Tehran, a weaker dollar and dovish signals from major central banks have stoked a nearly 10% surge in gold prices so far this month.

Indicative of sentiment, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.37% on Monday, after posting their biggest percentage gain in nearly 11 years on Friday.

Meanwhile, investors looked to whether Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would at least call a truce in their trade war when they are expected to meet at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Osaka later this week.

“The main event this week will be the sidebar meeting between Trump and Xi, which could stop the current gold rally with a productive sit-down that ends up in a trade agreement,” Alfonso Esparza, a senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a note.

“The flip side could boost gold prices even further as the Trump administration has shown that it could turn from friendly to aggressive in a heartbeat, further fuelling investor demand for a safe haven.”

On the technical front, spot gold may test resistance at $1,439/oz, a break above which could lead to a gain to $1,461, according Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.3% to $15.47/oz and platinum gained 0.3% to $812. Palladium climbed 0.2% to $1,537.75/oz, after hitting its highest since March 27 at $1,545.87.