Gold prices rose on Monday to the highest in two months as investors sought safer assets amid uncertainty around the economic policies of new U.S. President Donald Trump and as the dollar declined against other major currencies.
Spot gold rose 0.7 percent, to $1,217.81 per ounce by 0303 GMT. It earlier touched a high of $1,219.43, the most since Nov. 22.
U.S. gold futures were up 1.1 percent, to $1,218.20 at 0303 GMT.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell for a second day by 0.4 percent to 100.310.
Donald Trump, who took power as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, pledged to end the "American carnage" of social and economic woes in an inaugural address that was a populist and nationalist rallying cry, prompting investor concern about protectionist trade policies.
With the lack of a clear policy direction from Trump, the market movement is a sign that risk aversion is back on the table, OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan said.
Data from U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday underscored investor's bullish gold views. The CFTC reported that speculators raised their net long positions during the week to Jan. 17 in COMEX gold contracts for the second straight week.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said last week that precious metal funds had their biggest inflow in five months, according to data through to last Wednesday. Bond funds also notched a fourth consecutive gain over the last week, as investors continued to hedge against the so-called "Trump trades" put on late last year that bet on stronger growth and rising inflation.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.2 percent to 809.15 tonnes on Friday from 807.96 tonnes on Thursday. [GOL/ETF]
Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker said on Friday he expected three interest rate increases in 2017 if the labour market improves further and inflation moves to the Federal Reserve's 2 percent goal.
"Tone set by Trump will likely lead the markets to conclude that Trump’s legislative goals may now be harder to achieve as there will not be much bipartisan goodwill or a honeymoon period to work with," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.
"All this means is that investors could now start to coalesce around the notion that the Fed will stay on hold for longer than expected, which in turn should be constructive for gold."
Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.8 percent to $17.20.
Platinum rose 0.2 percent to $982.70. Palladium rose 0.3 percent to $789.80. It hit a high of $792.90 in the previous session, the most since May 2015.
(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul and Christian Schmollinger)