Gold bulls piled into the metal in hopes that the turmoil sweeping financial markets would finally help revive prices. They were wrong.
Instead of a rally, futures in New York fell for four straight sessions even as global equities plunged to a two-year low. Rather than providing a refuge from the meltdown, gold’s volatility rose right along with a measure of equity turbulence, diminishing its appeal as a haven. As stocks started to recover, the metal kept falling because of reports that signaled gains for the U.S. economy.
It’s been a tough two years for investors in gold, which first fell into a bear market in April 2013. More than $52 billion has been wiped from the value of physical bullion funds since then. Money managers last week raised their net-long position to the highest since June just before futures capped the worst slump in a month. Stubbornly low inflation along with the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy has kept a lid on the metal, which doesn’t pay interest or offer returns, unlike competing assets.
“A good test for gold was the latest round of volatility, and gold did not do much, since it has become unattractive as a safe haven,” said Atul Lele, who helps oversee $5.1 billion as the chief investment officer at Nassau, Bahamas-based Deltec International Group.
Futures fell 2.2 percent last week to $1,134 an ounce on the Comex, the biggest drop since July 24. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 0.5 percent, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.7 percent.
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