Skip to main content

Gold bars are stacked in the safe deposit boxes room of the Pro Aurum gold house in Munich March 3, 2014.

MICHAEL DALDER/REUTERS

A series of trades that moved about 4 million ounces of gold in the futures market awakened the precious metal from its slumber.

After 11:10 a.m. on the Comex in New York almost 40,000 contracts, each representing 100 ounces of the metal, traded in a span of 10 minutes. That triggered a sell-off, sending prices down as much as 1 per cent.

The trades jolted the market, which has seen 60-day historical volatility languishing near the lowest since 2001. The metal has struggled to sustain the pace of gains from earlier this year as the outlook for rising U.S. borrowing costs curbs demand for non-interest-bearing assets like gold.

Story continues below advertisement

"We didn't see any headlines, any news to make gold drop $10, but it just did," Miguel Perez-Santalla, a sales and marketing manager at Heraeus Metals New York LLC, said in a telephone interview. "It's going with someone who has a huge position that can trigger stops and make the market move in a direction."

Gold futures for December delivery were down 1 percent at $1,274.60 at 1:21 p.m. in New York, poised for the biggest loss in more than three weeks.

The bullion market has seen similar mysterious trades over the past few months.

Last month, contracts covering more than 2 million ounces of gold traded in just five minutes, sending prices higher. Two months earlier, contracts for a similar amount traded in a minute, propelling the metal higher. In June, the market saw trades for over 1.8 million ounces posted in just a minute.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.