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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Gold prices closed at a record high, above $2,000 an ounce, on Tuesday and investors are getting even more bullish.

What happened: Bank of America released the summary of a call between its chief investment strategist and heads of its commodities, rates and technical strategy teams Tuesday that concluded gold was very well supported and could rise as high as $3,000 per ounce in the next 18 months.

The big picture: Globally, central banks and governments have announced $20 trillion of monetary and fiscal stimulus — $8 trillion of monetary and $12 trillion of fiscal, a number that represents around 20% of global GDP, they note.

  • "It's just astonishing and breathtaking and you have to sort of pinch yourself sometimes to sort of realize that it's actually happening," Michael Hartnett, BofA's chief investment strategist, said.
  • Central banks also are likely to continue to buy gold, helping underpin the price going forward, said metals strategist Michael Widmer.

The intrigue: The path for gold is also likely intertwined with the value of the dollar and U.S. real interest rates.

  • For gold to reach $2,500 an ounce Widmer predicts the dollar index would need to fall to near its 2018 low with real rates at -2% (nominal rates minus the rate of inflation).
  • But he could also see a scenario in which the dollar falls to its lowest since 2014 with real rates at -1.5%.

Between the lines: Escalating geopolitical tensions around the globe are also boosting safe-haven appetite for gold.

  • Two large explosions that rocked Beirut, killing dozens and leaving thousands wounded, “probably (added) to the shine of Gold above $2020,” strategists at Mizuho Bank said a note.

The bottom line: "The global pandemic is providing a sustained boost to gold due to increased savings, growing inequality, vast capital destruction, declining productivity, rising public debt levels, and, most importantly, falling equilibrium real interest rates," BofA analysts concluded.

  • "In addition, we believe that a clouded geopolitical chessboard further supports the case for our $3,000/oz forecast over the next 18 months."

Go deeper

Emerging market assets are back in the spotlight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The expected gridlock in Washington and more monetary easing across the globe combined with a less antagonistic approach to countries like Mexico and China from President-elect Biden is getting asset managers excited about emerging markets again.

State of play: Fund managers at JPMorgan Asset Management say EM assets are in a “sweet spot” in the months ahead, especially bonds denominated in local currency.

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

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