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PRECIOUS-Gold eyes best week in 4 yrs as stock market turmoil lifts haven appeal
February 12, 2016 / 3:59 AM / 2 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eyes best week in 4 yrs as stock market turmoil lifts haven appeal

* Gold up 6 pct on week after scaling one-year high

* Could go to $1,300 if stocks don’t stop falling - Standard Bank

* Comex gold on course for best week since 2008 (Updates prices)

By A. Ananthalakshmi

SINGAPORE, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Gold on Friday clung to sharp overnight gains that pushed the metal to a one-year high, and looked set to post its best week in over four years as stock market turmoil stoked safe-haven demand.

Bullion jumped 4 percent on Thursday, its biggest single-day percentage rally since 2013, and analysts and traders see more gains ahead if the weakness in equities persists.

Asian shares slid as mounting concerns about the health of European banks further threatened a global economic outlook. MSCI’s global stock index closed more than 20 percent below its all-time high.

Safe-haven assets shone across the board. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields hit their lowest since 2012 and the Japanese yen climbed to its highest in 15 months against the dollar, while money continued to flow into gold-backed exchange traded funds.

Spot gold rose to as high as $1,260.60 an ounce on Thursday, its highest since February last year. It retreated only modestly on Friday, trading down 0.3 percent at $1,242.63 by 0712 GMT.

“We are seeing a flight to quality,” said a Sydney-based trader. “ETFs have been accumulating the metal for some time now. They are one of the main drivers (of the gold rally) along with the equity markets which are extremely soft.”

For the week, spot gold is up almost 6 percent, the biggest such gain since October 2011.

U.S. gold futures have risen more than 7 percent for the week, the sharpest jump since 2008.

Assets in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s top gold exchange-traded fund (ETF), rose 2 percent on Thursday, the biggest inflow in two months.

Total holdings of the top eight gold ETFs have risen by 3.8 million ounces so far this year, after three straight years of decline.

The risk-off sentiment has made gold the best performing commodity in 2016, investment bank ANZ said. Others predicted further gains.

“$1,300 would be possible if stocks don’t stop falling,” said Yuichi Ikemizu at Standard Bank in Tokyo.

Jeffrey Gundlach, co-founder and chief executive officer of DoubleLine Capital, said gold is likely to reach $1,400 as investors lose faith in central banks.

Also helping gold were dovish comments this week from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who stressed that the U.S. central bank was not on a “pre-set” path to return policy to “normal” amid a worsening meltdown in global stock markets.

Though Yellen said she still expects the Fed to gradually raise rates this year, federal funds rate futures have almost completely priced out the chance of a rate hike.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in MANILA; Editing by Richard Pullin and Subhranshu Sahu

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