Gold and silver exchange traded funds were down more than 1% in early trading Monday with some traders blaming the decline on lower demand in Asia due to the Lunar Year Year.
SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) slipped 1.1% before the bell while iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) was off 1.2%.
Gold prices fell to a five-week low on fresh technical selling pressure, Forbes reports. “Most Asian markets were closed Monday for the Lunar New Year celebration. China is on holiday all week for the Lunar New Year. That may be slightly bearish for the gold market as it could limit physical buying interest this week, due to demand from China slowing during its holiday season,” according to the report.
Gold traded as low as $1,644 an ounce on Monday morning while silver futures traded below $31 an ounce at one point.
“The absence of the Chinese market this week means demand from other regions has a larger gap to plug, thus exposing prices to a fragile floor,” Barclays analysts said in a Bloomberg News report. Still, “the broader macro environment remains supportive for prices given low interest rates and global balance sheet expansion.”
Russia has become the world’s largest gold buyer, adding 570 metric tons in the past 10 years, surpassing China, according to a separate Bloomberg story. The country’s added gold is nearly triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.
Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is threatening the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly. “The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there’s a cataclysm with the dollar, the euro, the pound or any other reserve currency,” Evgeny Fedorov, a lawmaker for Putin’s United Russia party in the lower house of parliament, told Bloomberg.
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Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own SLV and GLD.