2011-08-20

Gold climbed as much as $54.98 to $1,878.90, a new all-time high

The gold price soared to a new series of record highs on Friday as sovereign debt and recession worries continue to pressure Wall Street. The spot price of gold climbed as much as $54.98 to $1,878.90, a new all-time high, before paring its gains prior to the open of U.S. equity markets. The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the most liquid gold price proxy in the equity markets, surged $2.58 to $180.30 per share in pre-market activity. COMEX gold futures, per the December contract, hit a new record of $1,881.40 per ounce earlier this morning.

A primary catalyst for strength in the gold price has been escalating concerns over the European sovereign debt and banking crises. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. regulators were elevating their scrutiny of European banks’ liquidity, while a Swedish regulatory agency warned banks that they should do take additional measures to prepare for a funding crisis. Data from the European Central Bank on Wednesday also revealed that an unnamed financial institution borrowed $500 million from a dollar facility that had not been utilized for several months.

These developments have led to widespread selling in European markets. However, the euro currency has held up relatively well, at least against the U.S. dollar. On Friday morning, the euro climbed 0.5% to 1.4409 against the dollar.

In the U.S., disappointing economic data has continued to roll in, sparking fears of a renewed recession. Yesterday, weekly jobless claims came in modestly above expectations, at 408,000 versus the 400,000 consensus estimate among economists. Existing homes sales were reported at 4.67 million, below the 4.87 million expected. While those two data points were disappointing, they were dwarfed by the Philadelphia Fed Index, a key gauge of manufacturing activity. At negative 30.7, the Index missed the 1.0 consensus estimate among economists by a huge margin.


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