GOLD prices shot up to an all-time high yesterday, as investors flock to the traditional safe haven asset amid conflict in Gaza and expectations US interest rates will drop.
The price of the precious metal hit $2,111 an ounce, far above the previous high of $2,075 seen during Covid lockdowns when people were looking for more ways to safeguard their money.
Gold — traded since ancient Egyptian times — is still critical to the flow of money markets because it carries no credit risk and its rarity means it preserves its value over time.
Its prices are up by about 13.5 per cent this year, gaining five per cent in the past month alone.
Here, Sun Business explains why they have increased — and why it matters:
US interest rates: Traders have become more confident that the US central bank — and its global rivals — will lower interest rates as inflation eases. If they do fall, investors will look for better returns than government bonds offer. This makes other assets, like gold, more attractive.
Weakening dollar: Gold is largely priced in dollars and tends to do better when the dollar weakens. America’s currency has lost value because of expectation the Federal Reserve will cut rates.
Israel/Hamas war: The conflict has heightened nervousness about world tensions, with the war in Ukraine also continuing. Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said this has “fuelled investor demand for safe-haven assets like gold”.
Banks’ gold binge: Central banks have for the past year also been bingeing on gold at the fastest pace since 1967 to try to diversify their financial assets and boost economic stability.
What it means to you: Gold jewellery prices are expected to rise, but Brits will be able to get more cash for trading in gold. Peter Kenyon, boss of Ramsdens Holdings pawnbrokers, said a typical customer would now get £30 more than they would last year — between £250 and £280.
Chief executive Daniel Ek announced the company will axe 17 per cent of its 9,421 global staff to reduce costs and move to a “leaner structure”.
He said: “Economic growth has slowed dramatically and capital has become more expensive.”
It is the firm’s third round of redundancies this year.
Taylor Swift is the most streamed artist on Spotify, with her hits played more than 26.1 billion times in 2023.
MONSOON time in India is a lesser known driver of global gold prices.
A good harvest means that farmers, who account for around 60 per cent of the country’s gold buying, can splash out on jewellery for their daughters during the winter wedding season from November to February.
The influence is so great that this is when gold rates typically shoot up.
Bitcoin rises to two-year best
BITCOIN surged to its highest price in almost two years amid hopes that there will soon be greater regulation and the US Federal Reserve will cut rates.
The price of Bitcoin rose to $42,000 (£33,000) yesterday as traders flock to crypto to find higher returns if interest rates are lowered.
There are also hopes that US regulators will approve spot US Bitcoin exchange trading funds — stock market funds that invest directly in crypto — in the new year. It is thought that regulated exchange traded funds could help to clean up the crypto industry after a series of scandals.
Crypto currencies fell after Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, was convicted of fraud and Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, paid $4.3billion in fines.
Around $2.2trillion was wiped off the value of cryptocoins last year. While Bitcoin has rebounded, it is still well below its record of $69,000 in 2021.
The cost of kids…
BRITS who own their homes and have children are facing higher levels of inflation than those without kids, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics said households with youngsters face an 8.4 per cent annual rate of price increases compared to 8.1 per cent for those without.
And rising mortgage rates mean that homeowners have faced an annual rate of inflation of 9.3 per cent — higher than renters.
Bid boosts 888
WILLIAM HILL owner 888 Holdings saw its shares climb by a fifth yesterday on the back of takeover rumours.
They shot up by 19 per cent to 84.05 after reports it rejected a bid by Playtech.
The gambling rival made a £700million, 156p-a-share offer in July, only for it to be rejected as too low, The Sunday Times reported.
Investors may pressure the board to restart talks as 888 is now valued at £316million.
Despite the share price rise, 888 did not make a statement to the market yesterday.
BRITISH pension funds hold the lowest level of UK company shares on record. Three decades ago, they were investing 53 per cent but that has dwindled to a meagre 1.6 per cent. Overseas investors now own a 57.7 per cent high of the UK stock market.
LLOYDS shareholders could be in line for a £500million dividend after a £1.1billion debt owed by Telegraph owners the Barclay family was repaid by an Abu Dhabi investor.
Lloyds had written off the debt, but analysts say getting the cash back should result in a windfall for investors. Lloyds confirmed the money was repaid, almost six months after the bank seized control of the Telegraph group.
Abu Dhabi-funded RedBird IMI paid it, but cannot control the group until a government probe is completed.