Gold spiked to another all-time high this week as slumping global stock markets sent investors fleeing for the safe-haven precious metal while industrial commodities dived on the back of a weak demand outlook.
World equities took another beating on Friday but after massive losses there were some signs of stabilization as investors tentatively looked for bargains.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley on Thursday warned that the US and Europe stood dangerously close to recession and that growth in the big emerging economies would be slower than expected.
“Our revised forecasts show the US and the euro area hovering dangerously close to a recession — defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction — over the next six to 12 months,” it said in a report.
Morgan Stanley cut its global economic growth forecast to 3.9 percent this year from the previous 4.2 percent, and to 3.8 percent from 4.2 percent next year, mainly because of the stagnation in advanced economies.
Gold hit a record US$1,878.15 an ounce on Friday as recession fears mounted.
“With the gold price again reaching a record high ... and with economic woes seeming to carry on for the foreseeable future, the outlook for gold, in its natural safe-haven mode, is strong,” said Austin Kiddle at bullion broker Sharps Pixley.
Gold is regarded by investors as a safe place to park cash in times of economic uncertainty.
Meanwhile, the London-based World Gold Council (WGC) forecast gold would see sustained demand from key markets India and China this year, despite high prices.
Global demand for the second quarter to June was 919.8 tonnes, down 17 percent year-on-year, from 1,107 tonnes in the same period last year, as the “remarkably” high European investment seen earlier leveled off.
The June-end quarter this year was the second-highest quarterly value ever at US$44.5 billion, the WGC added in a report.
By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold had jumped to US$1,848 an ounce from US$1,736 the previous week.
Silver advanced to US$41.98 an ounce from US$38.29.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum rose to US$1,855 an ounce from US$1,800.
Palladium climbed to US$750 an ounce from US$747.
OIL: World oil prices fell sharply as a new global recession risks reducing demand for energy but then clawed back some lost territory heading into the weekend.
London Brent sank as low as US$105.06 per barrel and New York hit US$79.17 on Friday before both contracts rebounded somewhat.
“We are seeing a very diminished demand picture,” oil specialist John Kilduff at Again Capital said.
“You’re seeing a considerable shift away from the outlook that the economy is going to grow in the second half and next year,” Kilduff added.
The growth picture was also hurt by poor to outright gloomy US data on jobs, inflation, housing sales and regional manufacturing released on Thursday.
By late on Friday on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October stood at US$108.51 a barrel, after US$108.48 a week earlier.
BASE METALS: Base or industrial metals sank markedly on the back of spreading fears of another vicious global downturn.
By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange (LME), copper for delivery in three months sank to US$8,837 a tonne from US$8,886 the previous week.
Three-month aluminium fell to US$2,358 a tonne from US$2,421.