Gold decisively broke through the $1,500 a troy ounce level on August 7 as investors flocked to the precious metal amid a stock market plunge.
Following a quiet June and July, violent volatility returned to Wall Street in early August, reminding investors of the inherent risks in owning stocks. Traders fled equities for the safety of gold as the trade conflict between the United States and China escalated. President Trump threatened new tariffs on Chinese goods and China responded by saying it would stop purchasing U.S. agricultural products. China also allowed its currency to decline against the U.S. dollar, thereby making American products more expensive for the Chinese.
As the dispute between the globe’s two largest economies has deteriorated to an all-out war, gold investors have watched their holdings soar in value, up $200 an ounce from the beginning of June through early August. Not only is gold a safe haven in times of turmoil, but it also protects investors from the growing risks that stockholders will suffer the consequences of declining corporate sales, declining profits, and the danger that a pullback in corporate spending—already the case in manufacturing—will severely squeeze the economy. China has been the global economy’s growth engine. If it substantially reduces trade with the U.S., there may be severe consequences for the economy, perhaps even a recession.