Futures & Commodities

Gold slides 2% as Trump's restart plan boosts risk sentiment

A one kilo Swiss gold bar and US dollars gold coins are pictured in Paris on February 20, 2020.
JOEL SAGET| AFP via Getty Images

Gold fell as much as 2% on Friday after President Donald Trump's new guidelines to re-open the U.S. economy and encouraging early data related to a potential COVID-19 treatment drove investors towards riskier assets.

Spot gold was down 1.7% at $1,689.22 an ounce, more than $60 lower than the 7-1/2 peak hit earlier this week on concerns over the worst recession in decades.

"Gold and stocks are negatively correlated today with the overnight equity rally pressuring gold. The guidelines from Trump for re-opening the economy have boosted equity markets," said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO. "If stocks can extend overnight gains it could trigger more profit-taking in gold," he added.

World stock markets sprinted towards a second straight week of gains after Trump laid out plans to gradually reopen the coronavirus-hit U.S. economy. Bullion has on occasion moved in tandem with stock markets this year, with recent sharp sell-offs prompting investors to sell precious metals to cover their losses elsewhere.

Late on Thursday, Trump outlined a plan to ease the shutdown in a staggered, three-stage process, but the plan was a set of recommendations rather than orders and left the decision largely up to state governors.

Also lifting the mood, a report detailed encouraging data from trials of U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental drug remdesivir in severely ill COVID-19 patients. The pandemic has infected more than 2 million people globally and killed 143,744.

Many countries have extended lockdowns to curtail its spread, while central banks have unleashed a wave of monetary support measures.

"Risk appetite is soaring, but it might be overdone as permanent damage to the economy will see a battered U.S. consumer," said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at broker OANDA, in a note. "Gold will remain supported by the boatload of monetary and fiscal stimulus that will be in place for the foreseeable future. In the event of a deeper pullback, the $1,650 level remains key support."

U.S. gold futures slipped 1.6% to $1,704.70 an ounce, narrowing their lead over London spot prices, signalling hopes for an improvement in strained supply chain logistics that have hampered bullion shipments to the United States to meet contract requirements.

Among other precious metals, palladium gained 0.9% to $2,173.44 an ounce, silver dropped 3.3% to $15.11 and platinum fell 1.8% to $768.98.