Gold prices rose on Friday (Jan 31st) and were heading for their best month in five as worries over economic growth due to the fast-spreading coronavirus boosted appetite for safe havens.
Supply-squeezed palladium, meanwhile, was on track for its biggest monthly percentage gain since November 2016.
Spot gold was up 0.8% at $1,585.66 per ounce by 01:55 p.m. EST (1855 GMT). The metal has gained more than 4% so far this month.
U.S. gold futures settled 0.1% lower at $1,587.90.
“Coronavirus continues to be a strong factor of support as we are seeing global growth concerns hurting other markets across the board. As a result, we’re seeing safe-haven demand drive into gold,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.
“Gold is the quintessential safe-haven asset that money managers are viewing as an alternative for cash.”
The World Health Organization declared the epidemic a global emergency after the virus killed more than 200 people.
“At this point, it’s not something the Chinese economy can shrug off. There will be a hit to growth, the magnitude of which will be difficult to chisel out in detail for quite a while,” said Ilya Spivak, a senior currency strategist at DailyFx.
The virus fears gripped financial markets, overshadowing the latest batch of upbeat corporate earnings.