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Gold tops $1,910 for first time on safe haven status

Gold advanced to an all-time high above $1,910 as investors sought to protect their wealth against financial turmoil amid speculation that the global economy is slowing. Platinum gained to the highest in more than three years.

Bullion for immediate delivery rose as much as 0.8 percent to $1,913.50 an ounce before trading at $1,897.38 an ounce at 11:04 am in Singapore. The metal is up 17 percent in August, heading for its best monthly performance since 1982. Silver gained to the most expensive in more than three months.

“Gold has continued to blast ahead even with a relatively strengthening US dollar, strongly performing treasuries and other safe havens,” Peter Richardson, chief metals economist at Morgan Stanley Australia Ltd, said by phone from Melbourne. “All of that tells me that this is really all about preserving real purchasing-power.”

The metal is gaining for an 11th year, advancing 34 percent, as holdings in exchange-traded products reached a record on August 8 and central banks add to their reserves for the first time in a generation. George Soros, the billionaire investor, cut his holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust this year as prices rallied, while billionaire John Paulson maintained the largest stake, according to regulatory filings.

The precious metal may reach $2,000 by December 31, extending this year’s gain to 41 percent, the most in more than three decades, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 13 traders and analysts at a conference in Kovalam in South India on August 20.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S Bernanke may signal additional measures to stimulate the economy at a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week, potentially weakening the dollar. Yields on US Treasuries touched record lows this month as global equities slumped.

December-delivery gold rose as much as 1.4 percent to a record $1,917.90 an ounce. Bullion priced in euros, sterling, Swiss francs, South African rand and Australian and New Zealand dollars jumped to all-time highs. June-delivery gold on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange and December-delivery metal on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed to their highest ever.

“Things aren’t looking particularly positive,” said Darren Heathcote, Sydney-based head of trading at Investec Bank (Australia) Ltd. “The market is very, very skittish” and “it wouldn’t surprise me to see gold push higher in the current environment,” he said.

Paulson & Co. maintained 31.5 million shares in the SPDR Gold Trust at the end of the second quarter, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. He’s the biggest investor in the largest exchange-traded fund backed by bullion, where holdings climbed to a record 1,309.92 metric tons on August 8.

Spot silver climbed as much as 1.1 percent to $44.25 an ounce, the highest since May 3, and traded at $43.3775 an ounce. December-delivery silver jumped 2.1 percent to $44.295. Cash platinum advanced as much as 0.7 percent to $1,916.75 an ounce, the highest price since July 2008, and traded at $1,903.25 Palladium fell 0.5 percent to $760.38.

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