NEW YORK (
tanked Friday as the U.S. dollar outshined the metal as the safe haven of choice.
Gold for December delivery plummeted $101.90 to settle at $1,639.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The
has traded as high as $1,757.90 and as low as $1,631.70, while the spot gold price was down $89, according to Kitco's gold index.
torpedoed down $6.47 to close at $30.10 an ounce. The
U.S. dollar index
was down slightly at $78.33. Silver was getting hammered hard as were all industrial metals on global double-dip recession fears, although in after hours trading silver was climbing into the green.
"It's an absolute tantrum by most markets," said Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco.com, in describing the carnage in commodities.
Gold prices tanked almost 10% in two days as investors rushed into cash, pushing the U.S. dollar index to a seven-month high. The dollar rally was pausing Friday, but the strong currency was still weighing on the metal.
The two typically move inversely, and a strong dollar makes the dollar-backed commodity more expensive to buy in other currencies sidelining buyers.
Traders also sold gold to raise cash to cover losses in stocks, and portfolio managers are rebalancing their books headed into the end of the third quarter -- which means booking profits in gold. Both technical factors pressured prices.
"Liquidation selling in gold and silver seems to be outweighing its safe-haven buying," said James Moore, research analyst at Fastmarkets.com, "but we would expect that to return before too long."
Nadler is a bit more skeptical, saying it's possible gold prices make one more push higher on safe-haven buying as global stocks enter a bear market and investors panic over a global slowdown and no resolution to the European debt crisis.
"It's possible that we have one more push to the upside possibly above the previous highs in the low $1,900s but that has to come about quickly," Nadler said.
If gold prices can't hold the $1,700 level, then Nadler foresees a correction to the mid-$1,600 level or even as deep as $1,480-$1,500 an ounce.