(June 22): Gold pushed toward the highest level since 2012, lifted by concerns over a second wave of coronavirus infections and growing uncertainty in Hong Kong after China released details of a proposed national security law.

Bullion was supported as cases across the US Sun Belt surged, while Germany’s infection rate rose, and Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, tightened controls following a spike in cases. Meanwhile, China confirmed the proposed national security law would allow Beijing to override Hong Kong’s legal system, likely adding to tensions with the US.

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Gold is up 15% this year, buoyed by unprecedented stimulus to aid the global economy hurt by the coronavirus-related lockdowns. The metal continues to garner positive commentary, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. forecasting it’ll hit a record US$2,000 (S$2794.52) an ounce, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. said investors should stick with bullion as it’s most leveraged to a low real-yield environment.

“Markets have been optimistic lately, looking through poor data and newsflow and betting on a strong recovery, but the one thing markets wouldn’t be able to ignore is economies stalling again and the threat there is a second round of lockdowns,” said Sean MacLean, research strategist at Pepperstone Ltd. “Then we have that proposed national security law, which is dangling bait for the Trump administration to bite at.”

Spot gold climbed as much as +0.9% to $1,758.83 an ounce, and was at $1,752.74 at 11:39am in Singapore. Prices touched $1,765.43 on May 18, the highest level since October 2012.

Total known holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds rose by almost 30 tons Friday, according to initial data compiled by Bloomberg. Of that inflow, 23.1 tons went into SPDR Gold Shares, the most in a year in tonnage terms.

In other precious metals, silver climbed 1.5%, platinum gained 0.6%, and palladium added 0.2%.