Gold ended November down almost 6%, booking its worst month in four years, as relentless news of progress in Covid-19 vaccines and the diminishing need to hedge against an economic collapse continued to divert money from safe-havens into risk markets and crypto currencies.
Gold for February delivery on New York’s Comex settled Monday’s trade down $7.20, or 0.4% at $1,780.90 an ounce. It earlier hit $1,767.40, a low not seen since June 19, when it sank to an intraday bottom of $1,745.50.
For the month, the benchmark U.S. gold futures contract lost $112.50, or 5.9%. It was the yellow metal’s worst ever month since November 2016, when it fell more than 7%.
The loss was even sharper — some $300 or 15% — if compared to where Comex’s front-month for gold stands now versus early August when it hit record highs of nearly $2,090.
For the most ardent fans of gold, the current situation would have been unthinkable just a few months back, when investment banks were forecasting $3,000 an ounce or more before the end of 2020 from a confluence of COVID-19-related stimulus spending and dollar weakness.
Gold has tanked almost without stop since mid-November after a rash of positive announcements on Covid-19 vaccine trials and therapeutics.
U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar told a CBS interview on Monday that if all went well, Americans could get their first shots of the coronavirus vaccine before Christmas, well before any previously anticipated deadline. Azar said this after Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) Inc on Monday became the second drug company to apply for emergency authorization with the Food and Drug Administration to push out doses to curb the virus.
Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE), which filed for similar FDA approval earlier this month, used United Airlines to airlift the first mass shipment of its COVID-19 vaccines to Chicago on Friday, CNBC reported.
In Monday’s trade, the spot price of gold, which reflects real-time trades in bullion, was down $6.80, or 0.4%, at $1,780.86 by 2:30 PM ET (18:00 GMT). Bullion earlier fell to $1,764.66, a level not seen since July 2.
Some analysts think in the worst case scenario, gold could lose its $1,700 support. Sunil Kumar Dixit at SK Dixit Charting in Kolkata, India, is among those bracing for this eventuality. He says:
“Failure to hold above the critical support of $1,748 may cause further downside in gold towards $1,688 and $1,660 which will be a potentially strong and hard floor for yet another bull run after healthy consolidation,” said Dixit.
Others think gold may yet see salvation in December.
“Gold has temporarily lost safe-haven appeal and is no longer rallying when equities selloff, but that should change,” said Ed Moya, senior markets strategist at New York’s OANDA.
“Today’s stock market weakness is most likely a month-end story and not the beginning of massive year-end profit-taking,” he added, referring to Monday’s slump of more than 1% on Wall Street’s Dow.
Moya said stimulus action by the European Central Bank and U.S. Federal Reserve could lift the yellow metal in the coming month.
“Gold will likely see strong support in mid-December as the stimulus trade will be boosted by the ECB and Fed,” he said. “Gold is vulnerable to a break of the $,750 level, which could see momentum support a drop towards the $1,700 region. Gold’s longer-term outlook is still bullish, but the short-term pain is having many abandon the trade for now. Once the stimulus trajectory improves, gold should stabilize and target the $1,850 level.”