Gold prices took yet another beating Thursday as the U.S. dollar strengthened.
June-dated bullion futures were down $10.30 at $854.80 an ounce in recent action on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The value of gold has dropped from its all-time high around $1,030 an ounce on March 17, when troubled investment bank
was rescued by
and investors scrambled for safe-haven investments. Since then, worries about the U.S. economy and financial system have receded somewhat and investors have dumped their bullion holdings.
"The markets are treating May/June
dates as the pivot point beyond which they can no longer reliably depend on ever cheaper dollars to fuel speculative binges in commodities," writes Jon Nadler, a metals analyst at Montreal-based bullion dealer Kitco.
Over time, the value of the U.S. currency and the price of dollar-denominated commodities such as gold tend to move in opposite directions.
In the overnight session, the price traded as high as $883.60 on word out of the Middle East that a number of unidentified Gulf States are considering dropping their peg to the U.S. dollar.
A switch away from the dollar by oil-rich countries could reduce demand for the greenback, leading to a further fall in an already relatively weak currency. So any speculation of a change in policy tends to cause volatility in the foreign-exchange market and in the prices of dollar-denominated assets.
"It's not brand-new news, but it's coming from a more official source, the Kuwaiti finance minister," says Andy Montano, director of precious metals at Toronto-based bullion bank ScotiaMocatta.
streetTracks Gold Shares
, which holds bars of gold bullion, was down almost 3%.
One euro was buying $1.5482, down from $1.5637 on Wednesday. The dollar was buying 103.83 Japanese yen, marginally changed from 103.87 yen previously. The British pound was selling for $1.9765, down from $1.9889.
CurrencyShares Euro Trust
was down 1%, and the
CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust
was lower by 0.1%. The
CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling
was off 0.5%.