x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Gold starts to lose its lustre with prices near $1,330

The yellow metal is in peril, as Egypt's quarrels lead to a rethinking of erstwhile safe havens.

Gold was one of the star performers of the financial crisis, but its shine is starting to fade.

The precious metal fell to $1,335.47 per troy ounce yesterday, having hit a peak of $1,426.45 in December.

Goldman Sachs recently noted gold prices had started to falter and had underperformed other cyclical commodities, including oil and copper, since the beginning of November.

"This is the first time since the summer of 2009 that gold did not lead the commodity complex higher on a sustained basis, which highlights the substantial changes that have occurred in the global financial landscape in recent months as the US economic recovery has shifted on to a much more solid footing," the report said.

However, the investment bank is still bullish - it predicts the yellow metal will hit $1,690 per troy ounce in the next 12 months.

But Robin Bhar, a senior metals analyst at Credit Agricole, said gold's meteoric rise was going into reverse.

"There's very good news on the economy in the US, there's good macroeconomic data and the situation in Egypt seems to have calmed, and there's selling of safe havens like gold," he said.

While the Middle East is an important producer of gold, with Egypt home to a number of gold mines, macroeconomic fundamentals were having a great effect on the metal.

"What's good news for industrial metals, copper and oil, is bad news for gold," Mr Bhar said.

"In the short term, everything is negative," he said, adding that he expected gold to rebound if it dropped as far as $1,285 per troy ounce.

However, as always, dire economic news bodes well for gold and Japan's fiscal worries could prop up prices. The country saw its credit rating downgraded for the first time in nine years by Standard & Poor's, last Thursday.

The scale of deficits in the US are also still enough of a concern to provide support for the price of gold, Mr Bhar said.

ghunter@thenational.ae