Gold prices soared on Friday, as investors rushed into the perceived haven commodity after South Africa announced a potentially highly contagious new COVID strain.
December gold GCZ22, +1.60% GC00, +1.70% soared $24.60, or 1.4%, to $1,808.90 an ounce, moving back above the psychologically important level of $1,800. The settled up 50 cents, or less than 0.1%, at $1,784.30 an ounce on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Gold jumped as U.S. stock futures and equities in Asian and Europe tumbled on news of the discovery of a new COVID variant in South Africa with a high level of mutations. The B.1.1.529 variant has been detected in Botswana, travelers who visited South African in Hong Kong and a traveler who returned from Malawi in Israel.
The World Health Organization will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to assess the variant, which scientists still aren’t sure is more deadly or just more contagious.
A tumble for the dollar was creating a tailwind for dollar-pegged assets such as gold, with the ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.55% down 0.6%.
Risk averse action was also sending U.S. Treasurys trading sharply higher, “reducing the threat that earlier in the week [that] helped send gold crashing below $1,835,” noted Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank, in a note to clients. The yield on the 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.518% tumbled 11 basis points to 1.53%.