Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange futures finished higher Monday, first close above 1,300 U.S. dollars an ounce in nearly five weeks, supported by expectations for more demand from China and a decline in the dollar.
The most active gold contract for August delivery rose 43.1 dollars, or 3.33 percent, to settle at 1,336.0 dollars per ounce. The settlement was the highest for a most-active contract since June 19 of this year, according to FactSet data. MaketWatch says the metal scored its largest one-day percentage and dollar gain since June 29, 2012.
Market analysts say the U.S. dollar fell against key rivals, driving the ICE dollar index lower, which is good for the dollar- denominated commodities such as gold. In addition, China's decision to scrap controls on lending interest rates and let financial institutions set rates by themselves is also considered to be supportive to gold buying.
The ICE index fell to a low of 82.047, its lowest level in over four weeks.
Gold gained also on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain economic stimulus, boosting gold's appeal as a store of value, according to some analysts. Statistics of the National Association of Realtors released Monday show U.S. June existing home sales on a seasonally adjusted basis fell 1.2 percent to an annual rate of 5.08 million, compared with market estimate of 5.28 million.
Against this background, silver for September delivery rose 1. 049 dollars, or 5.39 percent, to close at 20.509 dollars per ounce.