Western gold investors woke up to bad news Monday with the precious metal hitting its lowest level in over five years, as heavy selling in early Asian trading hours tossed over a billion dollars’ worth of the bullion on the market in just a few minutes.
After dropping down to $1,080.00 an ounce, the lowest since March 2010, gold prices bounced back to trade back above $1,100.00.
There was also an unusually sharp increase in volumes on the Comex, the US precious metals exchange. In a matter of four minutes, over 12,000 lots of the August 2015 futures contract — with a nominal value of almost $1.3 billion— traded just before 9:30 pmET on Sunday night.
Today’s sale-off comes on the heels of China’s central bank announcement Friday that it had added smaller quantities of gold to its reserves than the market had estimated — 600 tonnes since 2009.
The news triggered a brutal sell-off among the world’s top gold miners, led by Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE:ABX, TSE:ABX), the world’s top producer of the metal, which tumbled 5% to the lowest in USD terms since 1990. More than 22m shares changed hands, double the usual daily volume for the share.
The miner extended Friday loses this morning, trading almost 10% lower in both New York and the Toronto Stock Exchange at 10:35AM EDT.
Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM), another large gold producers, fell 11.4% to around $18.33, the lowest in seven months. It was the biggest loser on the S&P 500.
Shares of Goldcorp (NYSE:GG)(TSE:G) were also down over 8% in both trading markets. Kinross Gold Corp.’s (NYSE:KGC) (TSE:K) stock dropped roughly 9% at 10:54AM EDT to around $1.71 per share – an all-time low. And Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) was trading 9.21% lower at that time in both, New York and Toronto.
Gold prices have been steadily falling since a peak of $1,900 an ounce in September 2011.