Gold Rebounds After Investors Rush to Raise Cash

A desperate rush for dollars sent gold tumbling, along with all other investment assets, during the third week of March, as fears of the coronavirus and growing recognition of the devastation it will wreak on the American economy became increasingly clear. Gold fell below $1,500 an ounce on March 16, just six days after hitting its highest point in eight years. 

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Did this panic selling mean gold had lost its status as a safe haven? Not at all. Anxious companies and investors, realizing they would need cash to pay bills and purchase essentials, were frantically trying to raise cash by selling whatever assets they owned, stocks, bonds, and even precious metals.  “When even silver and gold are getting crushed, that’s a panicked drawing of liquidity,” Rob Arnott, Chairman of Research Affiliates, told The Wall Street Journal.

The coronavirus is shutting down large swaths of the global economy, which means many companies will see revenue dry to a trickle and workers will be without paychecks and even lose their jobs. It is almost certain the economy will suffer a sharp recession, which is why the federal government is planning extraordinary measures to keep Americans financially liquid, including delaying the tax filing deadline by three months and sending cash payments. 

But once cash needs are met gold remains a reliable safe haven. While stocks that are dependent upon the economy’s health have suffered devastating losses due to the coronavirus, gold has held its value through the year.

On March 17 the precious metal climbed back above $1,500 an ounce and held near that level by the end of the week, as stocks suffered their worst one-week losses since 2008. 

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