Gold falls as virus fears drive investors towards cash

Gold dropped 2% on Wednesday as investors dumped precious metals in favor of cash after additional stimulus measures by the United States failed to calm markets hit by mounting fears over the economic downside from the coronavirus. Spot gold was down 1.9% to $1,499.59 per ounce by 10:59 a.m. EDT (1459 GMT). U.S. gold futures were down 1.6% to $1,501.10. “Gold continues to suffer from risk-off panics in the market, trading back below $1,500 level as S&P futures gave up stimulus driven gains,” said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO. “Liquidity here, as in most markets, is deeply compromised and we expect to see continuing volatility, mood-driven swings.” Wall Street’s main indexes slumped and oil prices continued to slide as investors’ appetite for riskier assets remained weak on growing signs of coronavirus damage to the global economy. Further weighing on gold, the dollar index jumped to a near three-year high. The virus, which has so far infected over 205,000 people and killed more than 8,200 worldwide, has wreaked havoc in markets as countries around the world go into lockdown to contain the spread.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday said it would reinstate a funding facility used during the 2008 financial crisis to get credit directly to businesses and households on fears of a liquidity crunch due to the virus. Adding to that, Trump administration pursued a $1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver $1,000 checks to Americans within two weeks to cushion the economy. “Gold will remain volatile over the next few sessions as investors await to see if the Trump administration is unable to quickly pass its massive stimulus plan,” said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at broker OANDA, in a note. “If we see a repeat of the financial crisis when Congress was ineffective in acting swiftly, the scramble for cash will continue.”

Gold prices have plummeted more than 12% or over $200 since surging past $1,700 per ounce last week as investors unloaded bullion in exchange for cash and to meet margin calls. Among other precious metals, palladium slipped 4.7% to $1,566.32 per ounce, while platinum dropped 6.6% to $617.71. “We’re facing a major demand shock as car sales and consumer confidence take a major hit. The key to the short-term outlook is whether the long liquidation phase has run its course,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen. Silver dipped 4% to $12.08 after falling to its lowest since January 2009.


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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Senior Market Analyst, The Americas at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya is a senior market analyst with OANDA, producing up-to-the-minute intermarket analysis, coverage of geopolitical events, central bank policies and market reaction to corporate news. His particular expertise lies across a wide range of asset classes including FX, commodities, fixed income, stocks and cryptocurrencies. Over the course of his career, Ed has worked with some of the leading forex brokerages, research teams and news departments on Wall Street including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Most recently he worked with, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo! Finance Live, Fox Business and Sky TV. His views are trusted by the world’s most renowned global newswires including Reuters, Bloomberg and the Associated Press, and he is regularly quoted in leading publications such as MSN, MarketWatch, Forbes, Breitbart, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Ed holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University.
Ed Moya