By Ranjeetha Pakiam and Jasmine Ng
Gold is opening the new year on the front foot. Bullion advanced for an eighth day to head for the longest stretch of gains since mid-2011, building on an annual surge.
Bullion for immediate delivery advanced 0.7 percent to $1,312.03 at 10:49 a.m. in London, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Last year, the commodity climbed 14 percent, the best performance in seven years. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index lost 8.5 percent in 2017.
Gold's strong run in 2017 came even as U.S. stock markets surged to records and the Federal Reserve increased interest rates three times amid signs of an improving economy. Fed policy makers are projecting another three hikes in 2018, while other central banks around the world have also shifted toward a tighter monetary stance, with the European Central Bank planning to halve its asset purchases starting this month.
"As global complacency over the trajectory of U.S. rates continues to be astoundingly low, precious metals in general should continue to benefit," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. in Singapore, said in a note. "The old adage that the market can stay irrational longer then you can stay solvent appears to be alive and well in the gold market at the moment."
Bullion's 14-day relative strength index was at 71.3, up from 69.1 on Friday and above the level of 70 that can indicate that an asset may be set for a decline. "The relative strength index is now at very overbought levels," Halley said.
Among releases that investors will scrutinize this week for clues on the direction of monetary policy are minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's December meeting, due on Jan. 3. Separately, there'll be nonfarm payrolls and average hourly earnings issued on Jan. 5.
In other precious metals:
Silver added 0.8 percent to $17.0703 an ounce Platinum rose 1 percent to $937.59 an ounce Palladium climbed 1.1 percent to $1,075.50 an ounce, heading for the highest close since 2001.
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