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Gold falls again as demand for havens wanes

Holdings in gold-backed ETFs have dropped.
Anodes of gold sit in the vault at the Perth MInt Refinery in Perth, Western Australia. Image: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Gold sagged again as the soon-to-be signed Sino-American trade deal, release of decent monthly economic figures from China, and steady easing of tensions in the Middle East all combined to undermine the case for havens just as US equities romped to records.

Bullion fell after the US lifted its designation of China as a currency cheat, saying the nation has made “enforceable commitments” not to devalue and has agreed to publish exchange-rate information. That sets the scene for Wednesday’s high-level trade pact signing.

The rapid reversal in investing sentiment in recent days means that gold prices that had burst above $1 600 an ounce last week as the US-Iranian standoff reached a crescendo, are now back in the $1 540s. The shift has been reflected in an outflow of holdings from exchange-traded funds, which shrank more than 20 tons over the four sessions to Monday.

“With such strong global growth sentiment evident in markets around the world, and a lack of geopolitical tensions to give support, gold’s price erosion is likely to continue,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific, at Oanda. The recent rise “was driven entirely by the US-Iran situation. With that out of the picture, for now, it is altogether feasible gold can continue to retrace to its rally starting point,” he said.

Spot gold declined as much as 0.8% to $1,536 an ounce, losing ground for the fourth time in the past five sessions, and traded at $1 541.98 at 7:40 a.m. in London. Silver slumped as much as 1.5%, while platinum and palladium also fell. The latter hit a record $2 148.81 an ounce last week.

The renewed risk-on tone of the financial markets and a stronger dollar are weighing on gold, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group said in a note. After the recent rally, investors have booked profit amid the easing of geopolitical tensions between Iran and the US, it said.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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