Gold jumps nearly 2% as dollar slides on stimulus bets

By Arundhati Sarkar
(Reuters) - Gold rose nearly 2% on Friday as the dollar fell to nearly three-week lows and increased bets on new US stimulus drove investors to bullion as a hedge against likely inflation.
Spot gold rose 1.8% to $ 1,927.51 an ounce by 10:24 am EDT (1424 GMT) on its way to a second straight weekly gain of approximately 1.5%. The US gold futures gained 2.1% to $ 1,934.00.
"It seems like a lot of optimism is building (US incentive)" and "this is really on the front line," said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
Another drop in the dollar could add more fuel, and given strong technical momentum, the gold bar could soon hit the highs recorded in August, Tesfaye added.
After US President Donald Trump interrupted talks with Democrats earlier this week about a comprehensive aid package, he called for a "thin" aid bill that would include bailing out the struggling aviation sector.
Additionally, a growing lead for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has increased the prospect of further stimulus and increased the pull of gold.
The dollar, meanwhile, slipped as expectations for a Biden profit rose, making gold cheaper for those holding other currencies.
"In fact, long gold trading is likely to be independent of election results," TD Securities analysts said in a note.
"Subject to a split government outcome, both administrations are likely to push through a major tax treaty in the shortest possible time that would help reduce real interest rate suppression while increasing precious metals."
Near-zero interest rates and unprecedented monetary pressure from central banks to ease the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in a 26% rally for gold this year.
Silver rose 3.6% to $ 24.68 an ounce and rose more than 4% this week. Platinum rose 2.7% to $ 885.38 and palladium rose 3.4% to $ 2,453.64 an ounce.

(Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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