Gold Drifts to Worst Monthly Decline on Vaccine Hopes

The prices of gold fell on Monday and are on track for its worst monthly decline since November 2016. The optimism on the planned roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the next few weeks propelled world stocks to a record monthly gain and dented the yellow metal’s appeal as a safe-haven asset. Gold has fallen by 5.9% so far in November.

Spot gold is currently trading at $1,779.58 per ounce as of 0816 GMT.

U.S. health authorities will meet to recommend the vaccination of people in long-term care facilities and healthcare professionals. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said approved COVID-19 vaccines could be distributed to at-risk Americans by mid-December. Between 75% and 80% of the population need to get vaccinated to get umbrella protection across the U.S., he said In the UK, the government is set to approve the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

According to CMC Markets’ chief strategist Michael McCarthy, the optimism about economic recovery inspired by the vaccine optimism has dampened the demand for safe-haven investments, including gold. Given the improvement in the economic situation, the Federal Reserve might slow down or even stop its bond purchasing program.

But Citi’s prediction is more optimistic. The Wall Street bank anticipates a slow-down in gold sell-off in December and expects the metal to recover and jump to more than $2,000 an ounce in the next three to six months. Citi cited the low-interest environment and the bearish outlook of the U.S. dollar as the basis of its prediction.

Aside from the vaccine, other factors are working against gold. One is the political stability in the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. Though President Donald Trump vowed to challenge the results of the November 3 election, a recent interview indicates that he is coming to terms with his electoral defeat. He already agreed to accept the decision to the Electoral College, which will be announced on December 14.

Another factor is the improvement in China’s manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity in November. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 52.1, the highest reading since September 2017. In the services sector, the official non-manufacturing PMI rose to 56.4, the highest monthly gain since June 2012.