Gold futures fall from eight-year high on factory data, vaccine

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Gold futures slid from their highest price in more than eight years after better-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data and positive results from a coronavirus-vaccine trial eroded haven demand for the metal.

An early trial of an experimental vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE showed it’s safe and prompted patients to produce antibodies against the new virus. Meanwhile, a measure of U.S. manufacturing jumped in June to the highest in more than a year, signaling the resumption of growth as pandemic-related lockdowns ended. Bullion posted its first loss in four sessions and its biggest in almost a month, while U.S. equities advanced.

“Our view is the worst of the economic fallout from the virus is behind us,” Kieran Clancy, an assistant commodities economist at Capital Economics in London said by phone. “You can make the case that the big picture, the economic recovery, is happening more quickly than expected in the developed markets and China,” and that is hurting gold prices, he said.

Gold futures for August delivery fell 1.1% to settle at $1,779.90 an ounce at 1:30 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after rising as much as 0.4% earlier. On Tuesday, the most-active contract topped $1,800 for the first time since 2011. The metal is still up about 17% this year.

Spot gold also fell on Wednesday. Silver futures declined on the Comex, while platinum and palladium futures slipped on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Our view is the worst of the economic fallout from the virus is behind us”

Kieran Clancy, assistant commodities economist, Capital Economics

Gold’s ascent this year has been underpinned by aggressive central bank action to counter the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout, with U.S. real interest rates already negative.

Traders are awaiting minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, due later Wednesday. Bets that the central bank will implement yield-curve control are showing up in the Treasury market, even as St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said such a stimulus strategy may not work and seems unnecessary.

Pinning U.S. yields down — if adopted — may aid the allure of bullion, which doesn’t offer a yield.

“Alongside the hedge against debt monetization and central bank largesse is also the added kickers of persistent virus uncertainties and geopolitical tensions which continue to fuel upside momentum in gold,” Eleanor Creagh, a market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets, said in a note. A retest of gold’s record high could happen before year-end, she said.

(By Justina Vasquez, with assistance from Ranjeetha Pakiam and Elena Mazneva)

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