Gold extends fall as investors shift to 'risk on' mode

Gold bullion bars are pictured after being inspected and polished at the ABC Refinery in Sydney on August 5, 2020.
DAVID GRAY | AFP | Getty Images

Gold fell to a four-month low on Tuesday and looked set to dip below the $1,800 psychological level as progress on COVID-19 vaccines and hopes for a quick transition in the White House drove investors towards riskier assets.

Spot gold dropped 1.5% to $1,807.95 an ounce, after touching its lowest since July 17 at $1,800.01. U.S. gold futures settled down 1.8% at $1,804.60.

"More optimism in regard to the economy, based on the vaccines has taken some of the safe haven status away from the gold market," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

"Less political concern moving forward" has also reduced the need for safe havens, Meger added.

Wall Street's main indexes jumped after Joe Biden moved closer to take the reins of power in January with a formal nod.

"The game changer has been the ability of all the vaccines to show good promise," said George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management, adding it is going to be a long climb back up for gold under these circumstances.

On Monday, safe-haven bullion lost 1.9% after another global drug company AstraZeneca announced promising trial results toward a vaccine.

Also, Biden is expected to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as U.S. Treasury secretary, and investors see Yellen as a force for more fiscal action to combat the economic crisis unleashed by the pandemic.

Gold's slide also came despite a subdued dollar, which held close to a near three-month trough.

Bullion, a hedge against currency debasement and inflation, has is still up about 19% this year, mainly driven by unprecedented pandemic-led global stimulus.

Elsewhere, silver dipped 1.6% to $23.20 an ounce, platinum jumped 2.8% to $951.66 and palladium dropped 0.9% to $2,334.95.