Gold miner ETFs were down 4% Wednesday as bullion prices fell sharply after the latest Federal Reserve minutes revealed officials are divided about the future of the central bank’s quantitative easing program.
Gold has been under attack in recent sessions with futures surrendering the $1,600-an-ounce mark, but miner ETFs continue to perform even worse. [Gold Miner ETFs Lead Weekly Decliners on Citi Downgrades]
SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) was off 2% and iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) shed 3% on Wednesday after the release of the Fed minutes.
The officials “emphasized that the committee should be prepared to vary the pace of asset purchases, either in response to changes in the economic outlook or as its evaluation of the efficacy and costs of such purchases evolved,” Bloomberg News reports.
Precious metals and the U.S. dollar have been sensitive to any perceived changes to the Fed’s easy monetary policies. PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSEArca: UUP) jumped nearly 1% right after the Fed minutes.
The minutes said “many participants” expressed concern about “potential costs and risks arising from further asset purchases,” according to the Bloomberg report. Several officials discussed “possible complications” that additional purchases could have as the Fed begins to exit the policy, a few mentioned inflation risks, and some mentioned risks to financial stability.
Market Vectors Gold Miners (NYSEArca: GDX) on Wedneday continued its recent pattern of falling more than gold prices. [Why Gold Miner ETFs Have Lagged Gold Prices]
GDX, the gold miner ETF, broke down to its lowest level since September 2009, according to Investors Intelligence analyst Tarquin Coe.
“In doing so a mammoth top is activated but the success of that pattern unleashing its dark side is diminished by the oversold chart condition. The 14 period RSI [relative strength index] on the weekly chart is at its lowest level for three years,” he said in a note Wednesday.
GDX is down about 16% the past month.
Market Vectors Gold Miners
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own GLD and SLV.