Gold Rally Rolls On But Oil Begins To Sputter

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

So will gold head for the $US1,800 level this week after the number of COVID-19 cases again escalated last week and Texas, Florida, and California all halted moves to re-open their economies?

Gold rose for the day and last week on Friday and more and more traders are looking for the metal to push higher.

Gold ended at $US1,780 at Friday’s settlement and then edged higher in after-hours trading to finish at $US1,784 an ounce.

Gold futures prices peaked on Tuesday at the highest level since 2012, then turned lower despite growing fears the US is losing control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It touched $US1,796 in trading on Wednesday. It was the third time this year the price had nudged the $US1,800 level.

The US saw a single-day record rise of more than 45,000 infections on Friday, after nearly 40,000 the day before led by Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona.

Comex August gold rose $US9.70, or nearly 0.6%, to settle at $US1,780.30 an ounce after hitting an intraday low of $US1,754 Friday and posting declines in each of the past two sessions.

Prices on Tuesday had settled at the highest for a most-active contract since October 4, 2012.

The most-active July silver added 14 cents, or 0.8%, at $US18.035 an ounce. September silver which is also among the active contracts, rose 12 cents, or nearly 0.7%, to $18.168.

For the week, gold rose 1.6%, its third weekly rise in a row, while silver was up nearly 1.1%, based on the most-active contracts.

Now traders reckon gold will rise again this week because there’s no sign of a quick turnaround the COVID-19 crisis in more and more US states.

Elsewhere on Comex, July copper dipped by nearly 0.2% to $US2.659 a pound, but the now most-active September contract rose 0.04% to $US2.679 a pound. Prices rose 2.6% over the week.

The Dragon Boat Festival in China saw little to no interest in iron ore prices on Thursday and Friday – Wednesday’s close of $US103.34 was the week’s close.

Oil futures fell on Friday, as the continuing rise in US coronavirus cases and growing infections in other parts of the world damaged confidence in the economic recovery and demand for oil and gas.

US prices fell more than 3% over the week as new record case numbers were reported each day last week in the US, culminating at more than 45,000 on Friday.

“The oil demand recovery story was dealt a blow this week after the U.S. registered the biggest-ever jump in coronavirus cases, suggesting many states may have to visit regional lockdowns soon,” wrote Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a Friday research note, according to Marketwatch.com.

More US states, including Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, and Florida, saw confirmed cases rise by more than 30% over the past week.

That saw West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for August lose 23 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $US38.49 a barrel in New York following Thursday’s near 2% rise.

In Europe the world benchmark crude, Brent for August delivery shed 3 cents, or 0.07%, to end at $US41.02 a barrel after Thursday’s 1.8% advance.

For the week, WTI fell 3.4%, while Brent lost 2.8%.

The rate of fall in active oil rigs in the US eased last week – dropping by just one to 188. The number of active US oil rigs has not increased since the week ended March 13.

This suggests that rig numbers won’t fall much further in the US at current price levels.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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