One minute after 4am EDT, as the European market was warming up for trading, Gold suddenly plunged $18, or as much as 1,6%, to $1,236 an ounce before bouncing, on a massive surge in volume with over 18k contracts, or just over $2 billion notional, trading in a seconds. A total of 18,149 lots were traded on Comex in just a minute, before falling back to 2,334 lots an hour later. As so often happens, the gold plunge dragged silver down with it as well.
The total gold sold amounted to 1.8 million ounces of gold in just a minute, roughly $2.2 billion notional, a level not reached even with the surprise election of U.S. President Donald Trump or Britain’s vote to leave the European Union according to Bloomberg.
A better chart of the move comes courtesy of Nanex which shows how the sudden selling soaked up all the liquidity in the gold market in seconds, with the clear intention of repricing gold lower.
With no clear driver for the move, Bloomberg has suggested it may be a "fat-finger" mistake, although many are skeptical and see either algo or central bank intervention, as the gold plunge was offset by the usual USDJPY spike, which jumped as high as 0.35% to Y111.66.
“No-one has a clue, apart from the unfortunate individual that pressed the wrong button,” David Govett, head of precious metals trading at Marex Spectron Group in London, said of the spike in volume.
Bloomberg adds that "others said a trader may have made a larger order than intended, or underestimated the market’s ability to absorb so much gold" unless of course the intention to reprice the market by nuking the bidside orderbook was very much deliberate.
“These moves are going to become more widespread with the way things are going,” Govett said by email. "The more they happen, the worse they will become as people back away from holding positions."
Of course, if it was a fat finger, gold would have promptly reverted back to its pre-"finger" price. That it didn't is all the clues one needs about the intention behind the sell order.