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Gold prices hit a 5 year low

Gold has fallen to its lowest price for more than five years, falling by more than 4% in a matter minutes as the prospect of higher interest rates in the United States sent commodity prices tumbling, as well as due to heavy trading in China.

According to the Independent, as soon as Shanghai’s gold exchange opened, around five tonnes of the precious metal was dumped on to the market by a mystery seller, pushing the price as low as $1,088.05 an ounce, its weakest since March 2010 [1].

In an article published by the Telegraph, Ross Norman, a veteran gold analyst at brokers Sharps Pixley, said sellers dumped 7,600 contracts covering 24 tonnes on the Globex exchange in New York in a two-minute span after it opened late on Sunday night.

A further 33 tonnes were sold at almost exactly the same time in Shanghai. The combined hit of 57 tonnes in such a short period is an extraordinary event in the world’s relatively small gold market.

The Guardian has reported that ten years ago, gold was worth around $500 an ounce only to soar above $1,800 in the aftermath of the first Greek crisis in 2011 before falling back.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The yellow metal is traditionally seen as a store of value and a protection policy against catastrophe, both attractive features in recent years given the depth of the financial crisis and the devaluation of fiat currencies by central bankers cranking the printing presses. However, those worries have receded and with them so has the gold price” [2].

Other metals were caught in the sell-off including platinum, silver and copper and the Bloomberg Commodity Index fell for a fifth straight day to its lowest level since June 2002, however the investment sentiment toward silver is relatively better than better than gold, because of the industrial applications of the white metal, which is being helped by a strengthening U.S. economy.

In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director of Commtrendz Risk Management said: “The difference between silver and gold is like whether you are living in the top floor or the ground floor of a house. If there is a quake, both will crash but probably the one on the top floor will be less affected”.

[1] Russell Lynch, “Mystery of the great gold sell-off”, www.independent.com
[2] Fiat currencies: A currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but is not backed by a physical commodity, i.e. the value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand rather than the value of the material that the money is made of.