Gold extended its slump after a stronger-than-expected US jobs report last week fueled bets that the Federal Reserve may start paring back its massive monetary stimulus soon.
Spot gold fell by as much as 4.4% during the early hours of Asian trading, but clawed back to recover about half of those losses once markets opened in New York.
As of 11:15 a.m. ET, gold was down 2.0% to $1,728.04 per ounce, the lowest since early April. US gold futures also declined 1.9% to $1,729.30 per ounce.
Silver, too, took a tumble as it dropped by as much as 7.5%, hitting a more than 8-month low of $22.50 per ounce earlier in the session. It was last down 3.7% to $23.44 per ounce.
[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]
Data released by the US Labor Department on Friday showed employers hired the most workers in nearly a year in July and continued to raise wages.
That underscored remarks by Fed officials suggesting a sooner-than-anticipated rollback of the pandemic era stimulus on the back of a solid labour market recovery.
The jobs data “beat expectations by a mile last week, which led to both gold and silver selling off into the close. This morning we are seeing the overhang of that as perhaps those traders a bit late to the party are panic-selling the open,” John Feeney, business development manager at Guardian Vaults, said in a Bloomberg interview, adding:
“With low liquidity at this time of the week combining with a large number of stop losses being triggered we have seen a volatile open to start the week.”
The technical picture does not look good for gold and short-term negativity is likely to continue, Harshal Barot, a senior research consultant for South Asia at Metals Focus, told Reuters.
However, “the pandemic is not truly behind us… There will be investors who will be looking for these levels to buy up gold as a protection,” Barot added.
The jobs data helped lift the benchmark US 10-year treasury yields in the process, hurting gold’s appeal as an inflation hedge. Meanwhile, the dollar index also hit a two-week high on Monday, pulling investors towards the greenback.
Gold has been losing ground on investor concern that an improving US economy and rising inflation will spur the Fed to pull back on unprecedented economic support.
Low rates help make bullion more competitive against assets that offer yields, while the strengthening dollar and record equity markets are also curbing demand for the haven metal.
(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)