An accidental ‘fat-finger’ trade may have triggered a dramatic 1.3% fall in the gold price in early UK trading on Monday (June 26), which saw it plummet from $1,253 to $1,243 in just five minutes.
It partially recovered before falling still further to $1,237 when the US markets opened, but rebounded to the $1,245 range, where it stayed for the rest of the day.
The price rose sharply to $1,252 on Tuesday morning prior to the opening of the London market.
City rumour mills suggest a fat-finger trade – an accidental keyboard input of an order for an incorrect amount – may have been responsible.
Gold miners followed the yellow metal’s downward plunge, with the world’s biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold, seeing a drop of 2.3% in just over four hours, before recovering rapidly.
The second biggest producer, Newmont Mining, suffered a 1% fall at the start of trading on Monday before bouncing back.
Silver mirrored the fall in the gold price, dropping from $16.69 to $16.50 in just a few minutes on Monday morning.
Among other commodity trading, oil prices continue a slow recovery following their steady fall from the end of May.
The agreement by Opec and Russia to reduce supply in a bid to force up the price failed to deter US shale producers from opening the taps, and the price of US crude fell from a high of $51.86 on May 25 to $42.63 on June 21.
Since then it has staged a slight recovery, and was trading at $43.91 at midday on Tuesday (June 27) on the London market.
Zinc continues to climb in the rally that started in mid-June, reaching $2,747 at midday on June 27. Copper remains on a slight upward trend which started at the beginning of May. Although the price remains very volatile, it has retained much of the huge 20% rise it saw in November 2016.
Fat-finger trades have historically caused huge losses. In 2001 a Tokyo trader cost his employer UBS $100m after he filled in an order incorrectly, selling 610,000 shares at six yen each, rather than six shares at 610,000 yen, as intended.
In 2014, an erroneous trading order in Japan for 42 stocks would have cost more than $600bn but was cancelled before it could take effect.