Gold price drops most since December 2016

Volatility has not only returned to equity markets.

Gold on Tuesday suffered its worst trading day since December 2016 according to MarketWatch. A week ago the price of gold gained the most since financial markets were shocked by Britain voting to leave the European Union in June 2016.

The most active gold futures contract on the Comex market in New York dropped to a low of $1,330.60 an ounce in lunchtime trade, down 1.9% or more than $25 an ounce compared to Monday's settlement. Volumes were brisk with 34.5m ounces of April delivery gold traded by early afternoon.

Gold price drops most since December 2016

Source: Bloomberg

The drop came after a surge in the value of the US dollar as currency traders returned to their screens after a long weekend in the US. The price of gold and the US dollar usually move in the opposite direction.

The US dollar bounced back on Tuesday with the index against the country's major trading partners recovering to 89.7.  The US dollar's all-time peak of 164.7 was reached in February 1985. That coincided with a bottom in the price of gold of $284.25 an ounce.

The yield on US benchmark 10-year Treasurys rose to a four year high of 2.9% last week and could cross the psychologically important 3% level as soon as this week. Inflation-adjusted yields on US government bonds have a strong inverse correlation to the gold price. The last time yields topped 3% was just over five years ago.

US equity and bond markets have been in turmoil with huge swings up and down after employment data released at the beginning of the month indicated inflation may be returning after years in the doldrums. Higher CPI numbers are likely to force the Federal Reserve to pick up the pace of interest rate hikes this year. Gold is viewed as a storer of wealth and a hedge against inflation.