Gold slips to 4-month low on AstraZeneca boost to vaccine race, strong data

Gold bars being cast at a plant by Gulidov Krasnoyarsk Non-Ferrous Metals Plant in Russia.
Kirill Kukhmar | TASS | Getty Images

Gold fell nearly 2% to its lowest in four-months on Monday as better-than-expected U.S. business activity data and optimism over progress in COVID-19 vaccines boosted hopes for a swifter economic rebound and drove investors towards riskier assets.

Spot gold dipped 1.7% to $1,838.61 per ounce, after falling to its lowest since July 21 at $1,834.95. U.S. gold futures shed 2% to $1,835.50.

Stocks jumped after data showed U.S. business activity in November expanded at its fastest rate in more than five years, pointing to a recovery from the pandemic's economic damage.

"Gold broke below the key $1,850 level after an unbelievably strong U.S. PMI release just dampened the need for stimulus. No one was expecting such strong readings in both services and manufacturing," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The upbeat data came after Britain's AstraZeneca said its vaccine could be around 90% effective without any serious side effects.

Further denting bullion, the dollar rose against rivals, while the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield also jumped.

Gold's break below $1,850 triggered a wave of sell stops, said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

Gold, considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, has gained over 21% this year, mainly benefiting from the economic damage from the pandemic and the resultant global stimulus measures.

"While we do expect gold to go onto the defensive when the global economies start to show sustainable recoveries, the tailwinds behind the market have not yet been fully dissipated," said StoneX analyst Rhona O'Connell in a note.