S&P/ASX 200 drops 1% as retail spending suffers record fall; gold soars past US$2,000 for the first time in history

Victoria has seen its deadliest 24 hours of the COVID-19 pandemic with a record 725 new cases and 15 deaths, including a man in his 30s.

Archer Materials Ltd - S&P/ASX 200 drops 1% as retail spending suffers record fall; gold soars past US$2,000 for the first time in history
Oil price fell as mounting COVID-19 cases worldwide undercut confidence in a pickup in fuel demand

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) fell 0.96% to 5980 points at 12.26 pm after inflation-adjusted retail trade fell by 3.4% in the June quarter – the biggest quarterly fall since the introduction of the GST 20 years ago.

For the financial year ended June 30 2020, inflation-adjusted retail trade fell by a record 0.3% (35 years of data) while nominal spending rose by 2.9%.

Change in consumer behaviour

Unpublished data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that COVID-19 caused big changes in consumer behaviour over the past year.

Australians bought more alcohol, electrical goods, toys, games and hardware items.

But people made fewer visits to cafes, restaurants, clothing and shoe stores and bought fewer newspapers and books.

Spot gold crosses US$2000 for the first time in history

Spot gold touched a new record US$2025 an ounce this morning and remains above US$2000 amid safe-haven demand, falling US treasury bond yields and a weakening US dollar.

Gold miners Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM), Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST) and Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX:EVN) are all up more than 2%.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX:AVL) (+10.00%), Aeris Resources Ltd (ASX:AIS) (+9.43%), Ansila Energy NL (ASX:ANA) (+11.76%), Latin Resources Ltd (ASX:LRS) (+11.11%) and Mako Gold Ltd (ASX:MKG) (+12.50%).

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