NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gold rose nearly 2 percent on Wednesday and posted its biggest three-day rally in more than a month, with investors piling into bullion as a hedge against currency depreciation after central banks boosted liquidity for lenders.
Bullion rose on a wave of economic optimism after top global central banks led by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank acted jointly to allow European banks to borrow U.S. dollars on easier terms. The S&P 500 surged 3.5 percent and copper, an economic barometer, soared 5.5 percent.
Gold, a traditional safe haven, has recently tracked riskier assets such as equities. The correlation between bullion and the S&P 500 has risen to its tightest positive link in a year.
"You are seeing an enhancement of the loose monetary situation around the world and continued currency devaluation, and that's what causing the rise in gold today," said Michael Cuggino, portfolio manager of the Permanent Portfolio Funds.
Spot gold rose 1.8 percent to $1,745.89 an ounce by 2:31 p.m. EST, after hitting a two-week high of $1,749.63 earlier in the session.
Wednesday's rally lifted bullion's performance in November into positive territory, up almost 2 percent for the month.
U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up $31.40 at $1,750.30. Volume came in line with its 30-day average, consistent with average or above-average turnover in the last 10 days.
"Gold is moving higher alongside every other risk asset, which is a bullish sign," said Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital.
The 25-day correlation-log between gold and the S&P 500 rose to 0.7, reflecting their tightest positive link in a year. (Graphic: r.reuters.com/duw35s )
Technical buying also supported prices as the metal broke above its 100-day average to reclaim the key support it had breached early last week.
"If gold can break above its recent highs and resistance at $1,800 an ounce, it's in for another leg higher," Sarhan said.
Daniel Hwang, senior technical strategist at FOREX.com, said gold will face considerable trendline resistance near $1,770 an ounce. A break above that will open the door for a test of $1,800 and possibly $1,900 an ounce, Hwang said.
COMEX gold options floor trader Jonathan Jossen reported a sizable COMEX floor order that involved selling two April $2,100 call options with the buying of each $1,800 April call. The so-called "bull call spread" strategy is seen bullish for the underlying gold futures.
The 25-day implied volatility in gold options, a gauge of bullion market risk, has fallen to its lowest in around a month, indicating some investors expect the recent range-bound trade in the underlying gold futures to continue, traders said.
Silver rose 2.9 percent to $32.83.
Earlier in the session, gold had reversed losses after China moved to ease credit strains by cutting the reserve requirement ratio for its commercial lenders for the first time in nearly three years.
The move by the world's biggest consumer of copper also sharply lifted the bellwether industrial metal and helped confirm gold's status as an inflation hedge, traders said.
Also boosting gold-buying sentiment were surging U.S. pending home sales in October and news U.S. private-sector job growth accelerated in November, prompting some economists to raise their forecasts for Friday's more comprehensive U.S. government labor report.
Platinum climbed 1.4 percent to $1,552 and palladium gained 4.3 percent to $608.50 an ounce. 2:31 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold FEB 1750.30 31.40 1.8 1704.30 1754.70 167,888 US Silver MAR 32.804 0.854 2.7 31.120 32.995 45,876 US Plat JAN 1560.80 20.10 1.3 1513.00 1563.40 10,808 US Pall MAR 612.60 28.35 4.9 571.00 628.00 5,343
Gold 1745.89 31.60 1.8 1701.15 1749.63 Silver 32.830 0.940 2.9 31.140 32.930 Platinum 1552.00 21.01 1.4 1515.50 1558.00 Palladium 608.50 25.01 4.3 571.83 622.50
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 188,987 182,015 194,401 26.09 -0.34 US Silver 50,476 60,067 79,725 44.01 -1.16 US Platinum 11,501 6,290 7,178 31 -3.00 US Palladium 5,596 5,118 4,430
Additional reporting by Josephine Mason in New York, Rujun Shen in Singapore, Susan Thomas and Amanda Cooper in London; Editing by Dale Hudson