The Australian dollar scaled 29-year peaks and South Korean shares touched a new record high Monday, suggesting appetite for risk has not disappeared.
Gold prices climbed to a new record for a seventh straight session, and silver surged to a 31-year high.
Analysts say a weak dollar plus the volatile situation in the Middle East and Africa are key reasons for the rally in precious metals.
Expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain its easy money policy this week, means the dollar will likely stay under pressure.
Apart from its safe-haven status, rising prices in Asia are also seen fueling demand for gold as an inflation hedge.
South Korea’s KOSPI was the region’s top performer, led by auto shares like Hyundai Motor and Kia. But Posco (NYSE: PKX) tumbled nearly 2% , after the steelmaker posted earnings that came in below expectations.
Overall trading Monday was thin, with markets in Australia, Hong Kong and London still shut for the long Easter holidays.
Markets are also waiting on earnings this week from Asian technology blue chips like Canon, Samsung and LG Electronics.
Top American companies like Coke, Pepsi and Procter & Gamble are also due to provide investors with a gauge of the health of the U.S. consumer this week.
Bottom line: The Australian dollar and South Korean shares hit record highs, suggesting risk appetite is intact; weak dollar sends gold to another lifetime high.