Gold prices jumped over 8% Friday to their highest point in more than three months, powered by uncertain market conditions and news that one of the largest gold producers in the world is altering its sales strategy in anticipation of higher prices.
Gold for April delivery, the most active futures contract, rose $24.10 to $314 an ounce on the
division of the
New York Mercantile Exchange
, the highest closing price since Oct. 15 and the biggest one-day gain since Sept. 28.
, the world's fifth-largest producer, said it was suspending its sales of borrowed gold to hedge against lower prices because of improving buyer sentiment in the gold market and reduced hedging by other producers.
That news accelerated a rally in gold futures that had been set off by the government's strong January employment report.
Shares of Placer Dome, which is based in Vancouver, B.C., rocketed Friday, rising 2 1/16, or 23.6%, to 10 13/16.
Gold prices have risen for three straight sessions, leaving them 7.5% higher than a year ago.
Prices rose in early trading after the
U.S. Labor Department
said the unemployment rate fell to a 30-year low in January, raising inflation concerns. Investors often buy gold for protection against inflation.