Gold Hastens Retreat, Slumps 3% As U.S. Treasury Yields Soar

Gold accelerated its slide below the $1,900 mark on Friday, slumping around 3% and dragging down other precious metals as a jump in U.S. Treasury yields hammered bullion’s safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold fell as low as $1,849.55 and was last down 2.8% at $1,858.89 per ounce at 10:53 a.m. EST (1553 GMT). It has fallen 1.8% during the first trading week of the new year. U.S. gold futures also fell 2.8% to $1,859.20.

“Gold is having a major fundamental shift for many investors and they’re starting to abandon their safe haven trade for gold,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“You’re probably going to see that the Treasury market sees some strong flows and that’s taking away some of the appeal from gold.”

Democrat control of the U.S. Senate has raised bets for large stimulus measures, lifting the benchmark 10-year bond yield to its highest levels since March.

December U.S. nonfarm payrolls data showed the economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December, building the case for a significant shot of stimulus.

While gold has generally been seen as a hedge against the inflation and currency debasement that could result from widespread stimulus, especially last year, that has changed as higher bond yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-interest yielding bullion.

Gold’s slide came despite a retreat in the dollar, which reversed gains from an initial climb to a more than one-week peak.

“We’re going to see a lot more of stimulus and that ultimately moves interest rates higher,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

Gold’s slump permeated into other metals, with silver down 4.9% at $25.78 per ounce, after falling as much as 5.4%, and on track to post its first decline in four weeks.

Palladium eased 1.6% to $2,381.60 per ounce to face its worst week since early December. Platinum dipped 3.3% to $1,080.35, paring an earlier 4.6% drop.

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