Gold on Monday struggled to advance despite the unfolding chaos in the eurozone, a disappointing jobs report in the US ahead of the holiday weekend and a weaker dollar.
In quiet afternoon trade in New York, gold for delivery in August, the most active contract, added $8.30 an ounce or 0.7% from Friday’s close to exchange hands for $1,171.80 an ounce.
Gold is down nearly 10% from its 2015 highs and the pervading negative sentiment – despite all the factors working in the precious metal’s favour – is nowhere more evident than in the positioning of speculators on the futures market.
Last week large gold futures investors such as hedge funds, referred to as “managed money”, slashed overall bullish positions by a whopping 55%.
Bets that prices will rise only amounted to 21,480 lots or 2.15 million ounces in the week to June 30 according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly Commitment of Traders data.
That’s more than 14 million ounces below levels hit in January this year when gold reached its 2015 peak.
The net long positioning is also the lowest since October 2006 when gold was worth less than $600 an ounce.
Speculators’ short positions – bets that gold could be bought cheaper in the future – jumped to more than 9.87 million ounces (283 tonnes).
That is the highest number of bearish bets ever placed on the New York gold futures market.