Gold soars on election uncertainty
Gold surged the most since the Brexit vote as traders plowed back into haven assets on reports showing surprise victories for Republican Donald Trump in states critical to his White House hopes.
Bullion jumped above $1,300 an ounce as early results raised the possibility that Trump may prevail over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the race for the presidency, throwing global markets into turmoil. Gold soared along with other havens including the yen while oil and equities tumbled.
Investors are fleeing riskier assets as projections showed Trump victories in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, states that he needs to have a path to the White House.
Most polls showed Clinton ahead going into the vote and the first four states to be called were in line with forecasts. Gold prices soared as much as 8.1 percent following Britain’s vote to leave the EU in June.
“Rightly or wrongly, a Trump victory is seen by markets as a major risk event,” said Ric Spooner, chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty in Sydney. “The size of the moves we’ve seen today in key markets does point to the possibility for further risk-off moves if a Trump victory is confirmed.”
Bullion for immediate delivery jumped as much as 3.7 percent to $1,323.17 an ounce, the biggest intraday rally since the UK’s Brexit vote, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. It traded at $1,318.34 at 11:54 a.m. in Singapore, having rebounded from an earlier loss of as much as 0.6 percent.
Trump was projected to win Florida’s 29 electoral votes, an unexpectedly strong showing that potentially throws the balance in the presidential race to Michigan and Wisconsin, key parts of Clinton’s Midwestern electoral firewall. He was also on track to win Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, based on network projections. Clinton pulled out a victory in Virginia and Colorado — two states critical to her chances — but Trump was competitive in another state she was counting on, New Hampshire.
“We are glued to our screens and trying to make out which way it is going to be,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd. in London. “For us, keeping a close eye on gold, yen and peso are the main indicators, and after every result we are looking at them.”
Bullion has gyrated in recent weeks as investors tracked the campaign, which has dominated sentiment even as the Federal Reserve signals that it’s set to raise interest rates. While a win for the Republican is largely seen as bullish for bullion because his promises to renegotiate trade deals and curb immigration may stoke instability, a Democrat victory is seen as less turbulent. Odds of a US rate hike sank on Wednesday as the US results came in, bolstering the case for holding gold.
Hedge funds piled into bullion a week before Election Day amid bets that a Trump victory would trigger a repeat of last week’s selloff that sent the S&P 500 Index of equities to its longest slump since 1980. Clinton is seen as a continuity candidate whose win would likely do little to change the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise US interest rates.
Voters check in to cast their ballots during voting in the 2016 presidential election in San Diego, California on Tuesday.