Currency shock sees gold surge 5% in one-minute “flash crash”

Sterling gold surged 5% in less than a minute overnight in Asia with prices rising from £994/oz to £1,043.40/oz as sterling had a massive “flash crash.” Sterling plummeted in the second biggest fall in its history – only slightly less than the collapse after the Brexit vote.

Despite gold’s peculiar, sharp fall in dollar terms on Tuesday and 4.1% loss for the week, sterling gold is another 1.7% higher this week – from £1,010/oz to £1,027/oz –  again showing gold’s importance in hedging against currency devaluation.

The latest sterling crash heightened concerns about the vulnerability of the British pound due both to “Hard Brexit” concerns and the outlook for the debt laden UK economy.

The pound collapsed about 10% from levels around $1.2600 to $1.1378 “in a matter of seconds” according to Reuters. The pound recovered most of the falls and most analysts said it was due either to a “fat finger” trade or more likely the automated algorithmic computer trades that now dominate the increasingly casino like, global foreign exchange market.

Thomson Reuters, which owns the Reuters foreign exchange brokerage platform RTSL, said a particular trade had been canceled and that the low for sterling was revised to $1.1491 – still a near 10% fall versus the dollar and the weakest level for sterling since 1985.

About the Author

Mark O'Byrne is executive director of Ireland-based GoldCore.