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Gold Is Shaken by a Mysterious 2 Million-Ounce Trade

By 

Susanne Barton  and  Luzi-Ann Javier

August 25, 2017, 1:22 PM EDT

 

So much for a quiet Friday in late August.

After weeks of relative slumber, gold traders were rudely awoken to a surge in volume and volatility. In a span of one minute, gold futures contracts equaling more than 2 million ounces traded -- about 20 minutes before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was to address a gathering of policy makers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The episode jolted the market after a measure of 60-day volatility on the metal touched the lowest since 2005. Gold had been in quiet mode even amid political discord in Washington, concerns about rising U.S. interest rates and tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Yellen’s speech, which lacked clear rate cues, did little to calm the price swings and damped expectations of a rate hike this year.

The market is “bipolar,” Bob Haberkorn, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures, said by phone. “Between now and the end of the year, the story is going to be the Fed. The Fed was pretty hawkish coming into the year. Now it feels like they are backing away from September.”

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