Precious metals rallied to their highest levels in years on Tuesday as a fresh economic stimulus in Europe and a weak U.S. dollar boosted prices.
Spot gold rose $24.50 to $1,840.40 an ounce, its highest level since Sept. 9, 2011, while silver gained $1.34, hitting a more than 6-year high of $21.46 an ounce. At the same time, the U.S. dollar index slid 0.54 percent and neared its lowest point in two years.
Tuesday’s price surge reflected "what happened in Europe,” George Gero, managing director at RBC Global Wealth Management and a member of the COMEX board of directors, told FOX Business after European Union leaders agreed on a 1.8 trillion euro ($2.06 trillion) spending package to bolster the region’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.
US DOLLAR TO WEAKEN AS CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY FORGES AHEAD
Precious metals have had a banner year in 2020 as the lockdowns ordered to slow the spread of COVID-19 led to drastic action from policymakers, devaluing currencies and prompting investors to turn to precious metals as a safer store of value.
In the U.S. alone, Congress has already approved $3 trillion of stimulus and is working on another package while the Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates to nearly zero while also announcing open-ended asset purchases and lending programs to support the flow of credit to small businesses and households.
Expectations for interest-rate cuts by the Fed forced nominal interest rates lower and caused a drop in real yields, which factor in inflation.
While they may rebound slightly in the near-term as economies recover, James O’Rourke, commodities economist at the London-based research firm Capital Economics, expects real yields to “remain low” and interest rates to stay at current levels as the 10-year Treasury note will be “firmly anchored by loose monetary policy.”
He sees gold ending 2020 at $1,900 an ounce, and remaining “elevated over the next couple of years.”
While gold prices have garnered all of the attention lately, silver has been the big winner since precious metals bottomed in March. Back then, the gold/silver ratio was near 122 – it has since fallen to 85.74.
“Silver has been a misunderstood component of the reopening because the industrial part that held it back for months is now in its back, propelling it forward,” Gero said, noting he sees the metal’s price climbing to as high as $22 by year-end and the gold/silver ratio falling to around 80.