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Gold futures drop over $30 an ounce after massive sell order

Gold futures dropped more than $30 an ounce on Wednesday after a massive 24 tonne sell order - equivalent to 7,800 contracts - bang on the opening of the world's largest gold exchange prompted a sharp decline in the price of the yellow metal. 
Gold futures drop over $30 an ounce after massive sell order

Gold futures dropped more than $30 an ounce on Wednesday after a massive 24 tonne sell order - equivalent to 7,800 contracts - bang on the opening of the world's largest gold exchange prompted a sharp decline in the price of the yellow metal. 

Gold for December delivery was lately down $29.90, or 1.71%, at 1,714.90 an ounce on the Comex. 

"If the selling was year-end profit-taking then it was inept," writes Ross Norman, CEO of London-based bullion broker Sharps Pixley in a newsletter to subscribers. 

"Dealers try and finesse big sell orders into the market to get the best (highest) price for the biggest volume they can and thereby optimize profit - that requires stealth. If on the other hand it was a "fat finger" episode as has been suggested with a broker said to be looking to roll his December gold futures contract then it was even more inept."

He says that more likely, this could be a short play, with the seller looking to trigger stops below the market at $1,730, and therefore extend the move significantly lower and increase his profits. "If so, he certainly caught the market on the hop as the move is counter-intuitive with everything else that is going on in the economy.

"Against the current economic backdrop, a short seller would have to be quite brave."

Indeed, he notes rising concerns over the impending fiscal cliff, and more importantly, the US reaching its debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion by early to mid February, "promising fireworks again as it did in August 2011" when gold hit an all time high of $1,922, Norman writes. 

"In short, we will not know the identity or the reason for the sale for a while. Longer term gold investors should not however be deterred - the rationale for buying gold is as favorable as ever and a degree of patience required."

The biggest threat to the gold price forecast right now would be a change in the negative world economic outlook, which seems to be rather far down the road, particularly in the West. 

The drop in gold price Wednesday is also said to be due to the rethinking of the Greece situation, with the debt deal possibly paving the road to haircuts on outstanding Greece bonds - causing deflationary concerns. 

This rethinking of the euro currency in the context of Greece has pushed the US dollar higher, weakening gold prices. 

According to reports, a CME Group spokesman said there were no fat-finger trades or technical errors, and that this was a market-driven selloff for gold. 

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April 16 2013

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