Gold is precious again.

After investors sent bullion tumbling in 2013 by the most in three decades and kept dumping the metal earlier this year, demand is now up and prices are defying bearish forecasts. Money managers increased net-long positions for a fourth straight week through July 1 and holdings in exchange-traded products are climbing at the fastest pace since 2012.

“Gold’s performance has proven the bears wrong so far this year,” John Kinsey, who helps manage about C$1 billion ($935 million) at Caldwell Securities Ltd. in Toronto, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We look for further strength through the balance of the year.”

While the latest government data point to an improved U.S. economy and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA predict prices will retreat by year-end, inflation concerns and pockets of unrest are sending investors into gold as a haven. Prices extended gains after the Federal Reserve signaled earlier this month that it will keep interest rates near record lows and violence spread in Iraq and Ukraine.

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