Markets: Gold meddler

A boost in the US labour market has heightened the spectre of an end to the Fed's QEIII, sending gold decisively down.

What is up with gold? Spot gold has slipped 4.6 per cent since July 23 after rising 12 per cent between June 27 and July 23, according to Bloomberg data. At 1611 AEST spot gold was at $US1283.30. Gold futures are down a seventh straight day.

The 'sooner versus later' debate about the end to US quantitative easing has now swung firmly in favour of the sooner camp. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago president Charles Evans, a QE fan, said yesterday there has been “good improvement” in the American labour market. Fed Bank of Dallas president, Richard Fisher, a QE critic, says the US central bank is closer to easing the pace of monetary stimulus. Half the 54 US economists surveyed by Bloomberg reckon the Fed will trim its $US85 billion per month bond-buying program next month.

Gold investors are getting ahead of the curve. Expect further declines in the price of bullion along with Australian gold mining stocks. Newcrest, Australia’s biggest gold producer, fell 51 cents, or 4.3 per cent, to $11.27 today. The stock is down 7.9 per cent this month. Medusa Mining dropped 12 cents, or 5.8 per cent, to $1.96. The shares have fallen 15 per cent this month. Perseus Mining declined 3 cents, or 5.5 per cent, to 51.5 cents. Its shares have slipped 12 per cent this month.

Just when gold miners and explorers thought they had recovered from an annus horribilis, dark days are upon them again.