Vaccine optimism puts gold on course for worst month in four years

Gold slid more than 1% on Monday and was set for its worst month since November 2016, as hopes of a coronavirus vaccine-led economic rebound lured investors into buying risk assets.

Spot gold fell 0.7% to $1,775.11 per ounce by 0650 GMT, shedding 5.4% this month. The metal also hit its lowest since July 2 at $1,764.29 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures dropped 0.7% to $1,775.70.

“Vaccine-inspired optimism about an economic bounce is really eroding the attraction of safe-haven investments like gold,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets.

Vaccine optimism drove the dollar to a more than two-year low and put world stocks on course for a record month.

“Gold looks bearishly biased and I don’t see any signal of a trend reversing anytime soon,” said Margaret Yang, a strategist at DailyFX.

Though gold has reached over-sold territory, the overall trend is so bearish that a technical rebound may not last for long and be sustainable, she added.

Data showing China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November also aided risk sentiment.

Investors await congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell this week.

“The risks are that the Fed will slow down or even halt its bond purchasing programme and that’s another reason to be cautious about the outlook for gold,” CMC’s McCarthy said.

But Citi said it expected bullion’s sell-off to taper in December with support in the mid-$1,700s.

“A renewed push above $2,000/oz in the next three-six months seems likely,” the bank said in a note, citing its bearish dollar outlook and low-interest rates as tailwinds.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding gold.

Silver fell 2.2% to $22.19 an ounce, after dropping as much as 3.5% earlier in the session. Platinum fell 0.7% to $957.04, while palladium slipped 0.5% at $2,413.08.