prices were weaker again today although bullion has recovered from the doldrums of the early part of this month.
At $1,229.05 an ounce, the price was down 0.13%, while was also lower, down 1.44% at $14.60 an ounce.
The recent performance of gold has puzzled those to whom the yellow metal is the ultimate safe-haven asset and whose price should be buoyed by economic and geo-political turbulence.
A year of decline
Despite talk of trade wars between America and China and actual wars in the Middle East, not to mention tensions in Europe and between the West and Russia, the price has been in almost steady decline since April, from levels above $1,350 an ounce to today’s more modest market values.
That said, bullion is off the much lower price levels seen recently. It hit $1,178.40 on 17 August and $1,185.55 as recently as 9 October.
Across the past 12 months, the price, which began the period at $1,280.20 on 18 October 2017, has traded in a range between a high of $1,354.95 on 25 January and the low seen on 17 August. But the higher levels were concentrated in the period before May this year and the lower levels in the period afterwards.
Indeed, the chart for the US currency’s progress during the past 12 months is, if not a mirror image of the gold chart, displaying a clear reverse pattern. The dollar’s weaker period occurred before May this year, since then it has steadily strengthened.
From €0.8484 against the euro on 18 October 2017, it hit a 12-monthly low of €0.7995 on 15 February and a high for the period 0f €0.8817 on 14 August.
A question of fashion?
Currently, it is trading at about €0.8680.
The dollar’s relationship with gold is complicated by the fact that, as well as being a rival asset, the dollar is the denomination in which gold is priced.
This leads to a second possible explanation for gold’s lacklustre performance. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its forecast for world growth, which may suggest to traders that inflation in the major economies is likely to slow.
But a slowdown has the opposite effect. It helps to support the value of major currencies, and throws into sharp relief the disadvantages of bullion as opposed to paper assets.
Gold produces no income stream, unlike stocks or bonds, and paying for its storage is actually a drain on the resources of traders and investors.
A final explanation may be that gold as an asset is simply out of fashion, as it was in the late Nineties. History suggests that, sooner or later, fashion will change again.
Learn more about the latest gold moves from our video: