Gold rallies to five-week top with Trump, Clinton in tight race

Gold jumped 3 percent to its highest in five weeks on Wednesday as early counting showed a close battle for the White House between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, pushing investors toward safe havens.

With voting completed in more than two-thirds of the 50 U.S. states, the race was too close to call in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia, states that could be vital to deciding which contender wins the presidency.

Spot gold XAU= was up 2.9 percent at $1,311.80 an ounce by 0235 GMT. Bullion peaked at $1,312.80, its strongest since Oct. 4.

The US dollar skidded in wild Asian trade as every new exit poll in the U.S. presidential election showed the race to be a tight one. [MKTS/GLOB]

Much of the action was in currencies where the Mexican peso has become a touchstone for sentiment on the election as Trump's trade policies are seen as damaging to its export-heavy economy.

Trump held slight leads in the vital battleground states of Florida, Virginia and Ohio, clinging to a narrow advantage over Democrat Hillary Clinton in key states that could decide their race for the White House.

If Trump wins "there's more uncertainty in his platform and the direction that his policy may aim, so there may be more volatility with risk assets and over the short-term you may have investors flock to gold," said Mark Watkins, regional investment manager with The Private Client Group of U.S. Bank.

US gold for December delivery GCcv1 was up 3 percent at $1,313 an ounce.

Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, said the reaction in the gold market to the outcome of the US vote may be more limited compared to its surge when Britain voted to leave the European Union in June.

"In this case whether it's a Clinton win or a Trump win, at this point beyond just unravelling some of the very tail-risk events, there's really nothing left in the tank to aggressively trade gold," said Varathan.