Gold has been swept up in the broad market sell-off to fall below $1,500 on Monday, down $200 from its peak early last week.
The precious metal hit a low of $1,456.8, its lowest level since Nov 27, and traded below its 200-day moving average level of $1,497.4 for the first time since Dec 20, 2018 on an intraday basis.
By midafternoon in Europe, spot gold was trading at $1,472.3, while stock markets around the world continued to tumble at an alarming pace.
Gold typically performs well during market sell-offs owing to its traditional role as a so-called “safe haven,” but it has not been immune to this past week’s global stock market plunge as the coronavirus pandemic takes hold.
Analysts are attributing the historic fall over the past week to a “dash for cash” as investors abandon all asset classes in favor of parking their money and cutting losses.
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Dash for cash
Stephen Gallo, European Head of FX Strategy at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note Monday that the past week has seen a shift in demand toward physical cash, which has benefited the dollar and hit the price of precious metals.
“That dynamic appears to be persisting at the start of this week, and there are few signs of this sort of flow ebbing,” he added.
Adrian Ash, head of research at online trading platform BullionVault, told CNBC on Monday that markets were seeing a “dash for cash” and projected further downward price momentum in the short term. He said the usual consumer demand for jewelry remained absent, and many funds and investors were closing out positions and take profits from the metal’s surge in recent months.
“In the past, when we’ve had volatility in pricing, that consumer demand is what has come in and put a floor under pricing. But I would suggest what we’re seeing at the moment is much more like what we saw during Lehman Brothers, where you had huge swings in gold prices and you had a lot of really shocked new investors who were moving into gold as a safe haven, who then saw the price swing,” Ash said.
However, he highlighted that there remained high demand for gold as a long-term value asset, with BullionVault experiencing the heaviest two-week inflow into gold since the aftermath of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016.
Volatility in prices meant last week the platform saw the highest-ever Sunday-to-Sunday value of metal changing hands, up more than 300% from the previous 52-week average.
Ash said the trend was similar to during the financial crisis of 2008, when demand was hit in the futures market because people were forced to close out of positions.
“But on the other side, you’ve got strong and rising, really quite rampant, physical bullion demand coming in the other direction,” he added.