Gold’s headline-setting rally has been engulfed by volatility as investors reassess the merits of one of the hottest pandemic-driven trades of 2020. After collapsing on Monday, the haven sank far below $1,900 an ounce on Tuesday only to overturn those losses as the day wore on.
After setting a record above $2,000 an ounce last week, gold’s rally has come to a sudden halt as US bond yields rose, eroding the haven’s appeal. The initial drop followed modest outflows from gold-backed exchange-traded funds, and a 15-day run in overbought territory for the relative strength index.
Gold had been one of the best-performing commodities this year, with the haven favored as the coronavirus outbreak pummeled the global economy, prompting central banks and governments to deploy massive stimulus. Its stumble represents a challenge for the metal’s backers, who had flagged an extended rally in prices.
Benchmark Treasury yields have climbed more than 10 basis points so far this month, amid improving risk appetite and an imminent flood of debt issuance. The recent rebound reflects investor hopes that the coronavirus will be contained after Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine announcement, according to Standard Chartered Plc.
“We can expect yields to rise further on expectations of a US aid package, which may pressure prices for the short term,” said Tapan Patel, a senior analyst at HDFC Securities Ltd. “Higher US health care costs and the expansion of balance sheets will continue to support gold prices over the longer term.”
After dropping 5.7% on Monday, the biggest one-day loss in seven years, spot gold sank as much as 2.6% to $1,863.15 an ounce, then traded higher at $1,916.51 at 8:11 a.m. in London. Silver also saw significant swings, with futures losing more than 9%, then paring most of that decline.
Once gold “got to $2,000 per ounce, in a lot of investors’ minds that could have been an opportunity to take profit,” said Gavin Wendt, senior resource analyst at MineLife Pty. News about Russia’s vaccine “was a cue for some investors to take profit from their gold positions and to leap back into equities.”
Gold’s still got plenty of high-profile supporters. DoubleLine Capital LP’s Jeffrey Gundlach said that he expects gold to keep trading higher despite the setback. Among banks that have forecast substantial gains in recent weeks, Bank of America Corp. has predicted that prices will hit $3,000.Newcrest Mining Ltd. — Australia’s biggest gold producer, which reports earnings later this week — declined as much as 4.5% in Sydney before erasing some of that decline. In Hong Kong, Zijin Mining Group Co.’s Hong Kong-listed shares slumped more than 12%, then pared their drop.
“Expectations of a V-shaped recovery from the coronavirus lockdowns remain far-fetched,” Avtar Sandu, senior manager for commodities at broker Phillip Futures in Singapore, said in a note. “The long-term fundamental drivers of gold remain positive in outlook. However, in the short run, gold prices seem to be reacting to headline news events and the technical picture has projected some consolidation ahead.”
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