(Bloomberg) -- Gold jumped above $1,700 an ounce -- a level last seen at the end of 2012 -- as oil prices crashed and U.S. equity futures plunged after crude producers launched a price war, an additional disruption to a global economy already struggling thanks to the coronavirus.

Brent crude tumbled by 31% in a matter of seconds after the open of trading in Asia on Monday, while futures on the S&P 500 Index plummeted more than 4%. Investors are already piling into bullion-backed exchange-traded funds as the coronavirus hurt the outlook for growth.

The traditional haven is on a tear this year as the global health crisis expands and central banks cut interest rates to try and stem mounting economic damage. Gold has immunity to the virus and is the currency of last resort, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which predicts prices could top $1,800 if the effects of the virus stretch into the second quarter.

Spot gold climbed as much as 1.7% to $1,701.55 an ounce, the highest since December 2012, and was at $1,695.04 at 7:09 a.m. in Singapore.

Among other main precious metals, silver rose 0.9% and platinum added 0.8%, while palladium dropped 2.4%.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ranjeetha Pakiam in Singapore at rpakiam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Phoebe Sedgman at psedgman2@bloomberg.net, Jake Lloyd-Smith

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