Gold price falls to five-year low on US rate rise talk

gold bars Image copyright AFP

The gold price has fallen to its lowest level in more than five years as talk of a US interest rate rise has led investors to sell the precious metal.

Gold closed 2.5% lower at $1,104.60 an ounce in London, having earlier fallen below $1,100 an ounce for the first time since March 2010.

The gold price is now more than 40% below its August 2011 peak.

The stronger US economy has led investors to expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year.

The expectations have led investors to gradually sell gold - a perceived safe haven investment in times of crisis - to invest elsewhere.

Other commodities have also fallen, with the price of platinum down 5% - its weakest level since the global financial crisis.

Evan Lucas, a market strategist at trading firm IG, said the recent slump in gold prices could signal a "retracement" to $1,000 an ounce by the end of the year.

"There are no clear signs (or reason) to buy it. It is an inert metal that is a store of value yet inflation is heading nowhere and investment in the US dollar and bonds is clearly more appealing," he told the BBC.

China's reserves rise

The price fall comes despite China, the world's biggest consumer of gold, saying on Friday that its gold reserves were up 57% at the end of June compared with the last time it revealed reserve figures more than six years ago.

However, the rise was below analysts' expectations. Gold now accounts for 1.65% of China's total foreign exchange reserves, compared with 1.8% in June 2009, despite the increase in tonnage.

Gold has been falling out of favour as the dollar strengthened last week after Fed chair Janet Yellen reiterated the view that the central bank was on track to rise rates this year.

Shares of London gold miners were hit hard by the fall in prices.

Lonmin and Fresnillo both closed 4.4% lower, while Randgold Resources dropped 4.7%.

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