Gold price hits new record high following Iran president's death

Gold price hits new record high following Iran president's death

Proactive Investors – The price of gold has risen to a new record high this morning, coming within a whisper of $2,500, with analysts linking it to various possible factors.

Some traders and analysts linked the gains to the death of Iran’s president in a helicopter crash, while others pointed to Chinese economic data and softer US inflation.

This followed another volatile period last week for the yellow metal.

Analysts at Stifel said prices were rising today “on the back of significantly weaker retail sales data from China” and after a big upward move last week that was largely the result of the soft US inflation number which “once again fueling up the hopes of earlier-than-anticipated Fed rate cuts”.

“Once rate cuts start to happen, it will drive another leg up for the gold price, with cuts likely to happen more rapidly than currently expected.”

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV) said that gold and oil were claiming in tandem “following the confirmation of the death of Iran’s president, and the health of King Salman of Saudi Arabia being the subject of speculation”.

Shares in energy giants Shell (LON:SHEL) and BP (LON:BP) were on the front foot in early trade, while defence contractors also edged up, she noted.

On gold, Streeter said: “Demand for the safe-haven asset has surged as investors have been digesting news of the death of Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi who is believed to have been killed with others including foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash.


“Demand for the metal has also likely to have been pushed up by renewed speculation that the Federal Reserve will be minded to cut interest rates a couple of times this year.

“Recent data is indicating inflation is staying on the right downwards trajectory, and there are other signs of demand being drawn out of the economy, such as retail sales coming in softer.”

Softening in the US dollar has also made gold slightly cheaper for overseas buyers, while a lower interest rate environment will also reduce the profitability of investing in US government bonds, increasing the allure of gold as the opportunity cost of holding it falls.

Various analysts said a major factor in recent months has been China’s bulk buying of gold.

Economists at Rabobank pointed to gold and copper both setting new nominal record highs but that “some ex-post rationalisation … falls short of the mark”.

They suggested two factors which may be more plausible: “The first is the well telegraphed shift on the part of central bank reserves into bullion (this owing, in part, to concern over dollar weaponization).

“The second is a possible shift of household savings from stocks into commodities – this as wealthy households who have enjoyed the boom in equites look to protect these gains via commodity exposure as potentially sticky inflation and an intransigent Fed cast a cloud over the future performance of share indices.”

As for oil prices, Brent crude was up 0.3% at $84.22.

King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has postponed a visit to Japan due to his 89-year-old father’s illness, reported to be a lung condition.

But oil traders have an eye on the next OPEC meeting due to begin on 1 June, where members will decide on future production quotas.

“If an increase isn’t agreed, it could add fresh strength to oil prices,” said Streeter.

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