Gold set for worst month in four years on vaccine-led stocks rally

Gold is down 5.9 per cent so far in November. PHOTO: REUTERS

BENGALURU (REUTERS) - Gold slipped on Monday (Nov 30) and was on track for its worst month in four years, as optimism over a coronavirus vaccine-led economic rebound that propelled equities to record highs dulled the metal's safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold fell 1.2 per cent to US$1,766.26 per ounce by 3.01am GMT. Gold is down 5.9 per cent so far this month, its biggest monthly decline since November 2016.

US gold futures dropped 0.5 per cent to US$1,772.60.

"Vaccine-inspired optimism about an economic bounce is really eroding the attraction of safe-haven investments like gold... The breach of US$1,800 is feeding into the market imagination and appears to be another trigger," said Mr Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets.

Vaccine optimism drove the US dollar to a more than two-year low and put world stocks on course for a record month of gains.

Also bolstering risk sentiment was data that showed China's factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November.

Investors now eye testimony Congressional by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell this week, for clues on the likely direction monetary policy might take.

"The risks are that the Fed will slow down or even halt its bond purchasing programme and that's another reason to be cautious about the outlook for gold," Mr McCarthy added.

Gold is seen as a hedge against inflation likely to result from monetary stimulus.

Wall street bank Citi expects bullion's sell-off to taper in December with support in the mid US$1,700s.

"A renewed push above US$2,000/oz in the next three to six months seems likely," the bank added in a note, citing its bearish dollar outlook and low-interest rates as tailwinds.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Silver slipped 3.2 per cent to US$21.96 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.9 per cent to US$954.64 and palladium was down 0.4 per cent at US$2,416.22.

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