Struggling gold prices seem set for further pain, with a flight to the dollar leaving the traditional refuge asset searching for its place as investors build short positions in futures markets and Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) holdings fall. Investors betting on a stronger US economy and higher interest rates have sought out the dollar, sapping any benefits gold and other so-called “safe havens” might have gained from global trade tensions between the world’s largest economies.
For example, the Japanese yen has tumbled against the dollar despite the trade row as Japanese investors bought foreign assets because its central bank had not yet ended monetary stimulus.
“Gold is having an identity crisis,” said ING analyst Oliver Nugent. “All of the things you can throw at it … don’t seem to really budge it.”
Spot gold, which is down over 6 percent this year, is close to a one-year low of $1 211.08 touched on July 19 as the dollar powered to a one-year high on expectations of higher US interest rates this year.
The United States and China imposed import tariffs on each other, fraying nerves on global financial markets.
Some analysts and fund managers say the dollar has benefited because the US economy would be more resilient in the face of a trade war.
“The dollar will benefit from trade tensions because the US has a lot less lose than for instance, China, in a trade war,” Capital Economics economist Simona Gambarini said.