(Kitco News) – Strong safe-haven demand for gold sent the precious metal soaring to a 12-month high above $1,260.00 Thursday. Another big sell off in world stock markets sent investors and traders scrambling into the gold market. There are growing concerns about the collective health of the major world economies. Gold prices have risen around 15% the past six weeks. April Comex gold was last up $54.00 at $1,248.60 an ounce. March Comex silver was last up $0.523 at $15.81 an ounce.
There was keen worldwide investor and trader risk aversion Thursday as most world stock markets suffered sharp losses. Falling crude oil prices, worries about the European financial system and weak overall world economic growth prospects are combining to spook the world marketplace.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index was down nearly 4% Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was also down around 4% on the day. China and Japan markets were closed Thursday for holidays. The Japanese yen has soared against the U.S. dollar on safe-haven demand from market participants in the Asian region.
U.S. stock indexes were sharply lower in afternoon trading Thursday.
There is once again rising concern about European countries’ sovereign debt, as bond yields in several EU countries have risen sharply in recent weeks. The outlier is Germany, whose bonds are considered to be high quality and safe-haven. German bond yields are presently at record lows and in negative territory.
Nymex crude oil prices were trading lower and just below $27.00 a barrel Thursday afternoon. This week’s selling pressure in Nymex crude has pushed prices to near a 12-year low.
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