July 8, 2020 / 3:37 PM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold smashes through $1,800 level as investors bolt for safety

* Gold surges over 1% to $1,817.71/oz on safe-haven demand

* Gold-hungry investors drive ETF stockpile to new record in June

* GRAPHIC- Gold vs different currencies: tmsnrt.rs/1JxbO6Y

* GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Adds quotes, graphic; updates prices)

By Shreyansi Singh and Swati Verma

July 8 (Reuters) - Gold soared past the technical $1,800 threshold on Wednesday, scaling its highest since September 2011, as investors bolted for safety from the novel coronavirus and central banks poured in powerful stimulus to cushion its economic fallout.

Spot gold rallied 0.9% to $1,811.01 per ounce by 1:39 p.m. EDT (1739 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.6% higher at $1,820.60.

“The pillars of support are the fiscal and monetary stimulus,” along with inflows into gold-backed exchange traded funds and other investments, said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

“The constant injection of liquidity into the market continues to be the most prominent positive factor, as the dollar has been weakening and supporting commodity prices, but more specifically gold and silver.”

Prices earlier in the session vaulted to $1,817.71, the highest level since Sept. 19, 2011, and were holding below the all-time peak of $1,920.30 hit the same month.

The yellow metal has charted solid gains this year as the global economy grapples with the impact of the pandemic, which has infected more than 11.89 million people worldwide.

Travel curbs to prevent the spread of virus have also thwarted grey-market operators in the world’s second largest gold consumer, India.

“The growth in investment demand has more than offset the weakness in the physical markets and physically backed ETPs continue to scale fresh record highs,” said Standard Chartered analyst Suki Cooper.

Gold-backed exchange traded funds added 734 tonnes to their holdings in the first half of 2020 - more than in any previous full year, the World Gold Council said on Tuesday.

“Gold prices have continued to benefit from safe-haven demand despite positive macro data and risk-on sentiment... Dollar weakness has provided some support to gold but the key driver remains real yields,” Cooper added.

The dollar index slid, while U.S. stocks rallied as investors weighed hopes for a swift economic recovery against fears about a resurgence of the pandemic.

In other metals, silver jumped 2.1% to $18.68 per ounce. Palladium gained 0.1% to $1,918.05 per ounce and platinum rose 0.7% to $841.54 per ounce.

Reporting by Swati Verma and Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski

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