Gold price rally biggest since Brexit
On Wednesday gold continued to build on gains sparked by disappointing US economic news and a weaker dollar.
Gold futures trading on the Comex market in New York for delivery in December, the most active contract, were exchanging hands at $1,353.70 an ounce, a three week high. Gold is now up some $50 since the release of weaker than expected payroll data on Friday.
Yesterday, the price of gold enjoyed another leg up – the best one day gain since June's Brexit poll surprised markets – when a reading of economic activity from the US Institute for Supply Management fell to its lowest level since February 2010.
The weak data poured cold water on expectations of an early rate hike in the world's largest economy. The price of gold tends to move in the opposite direction of the US dollar and also has an inverse relationship to interest rates.
Gold touched a two-year high in July around $1,380 an ounce and year to date the metal is up 27% or nearly $300 an ounce, one of its best annual performances since 1980.
Large scale gold futures and options speculators or "managed money" investors such as hedge funds have been wrong-footed by the negative economic numbers and had been positioning themselves for further declines in the gold price this week.
Hedge funds dramatically raised bearish bets on gold during the final months of 2015 pushing the overall market into a net short position – bets that gold could be bought back at a lower price in the future – for the first time since at least 2006, when government first started to collect the data.
The trend was thoroughly reverse this year however with investors building large bullish positions culminating in an all-time record number of net long contracts – bets that gold will be more valuable in future – in the first week of July of 28.7 million ounces.
Those positions were subsequently trimmed and according to the CFTC's weekly Commitment of Traders data up to August 30 released on Friday speculators added to shorts and cut to longs for a net reduction in bullish bets of 2.7 million ounces to 23.8 million ounces or 740 tonnes.
That's down nearly 50 tonnes from its peak which topped managed money investors' holding on the gold derivatives market in New York of August 2011 when gold was peaking at an all-time high of $1,900.