Gold's milestones

New York - Gold prices hit two-year lows on Monday in their biggest one-day drop since 1983 as an exodus of institutional money fuelled expectations that bullion's 12 years of gains as a haven in a troubled world may have stalled.

Here are key dates in gold's trading history since the early 1970s:

  • August 1971 - US President Richard Nixon takes the dollar off the gold standard, which had been in place with minor modifications since the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 fixed the conversion rate for one troy ounce of gold at $35.
  • August 1972 - The United States devalues the dollar to $38 per ounce of gold. 
  • March 1973 - Most major countries adopt the floating exchange rate system.
  • May 1973 - US devalues dollar to $42.22 per ounce. 
  • January 1980 - Gold hits record high at $850 per ounce. High inflation because of strong oil prices, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the impact of the Iranian revolution prompt investors to move into the metal. 
  • August 1999 - Gold falls to a low at $251.70 on worries about central banks reducing reserves of gold bullion and mining companies selling gold in forward markets to protect against falling prices. 
  • October 1999 - Gold reaches a two-year high at $338 after agreement to limit gold sales by 15 European central banks. Market sentiment toward gold begins to turn more positive. 
  • February 2003 - Gold rallies to a four-year high on safe-haven buying in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. 
  • December 2003-January 2004 - Gold breaks above $400 per ounce, reaching levels last traded in 1988. Investors increasingly buy gold as risk insurance for portfolios. 
  • November 2005 - Spot gold breaches $500 for the first time since December 1987, when spot hit $502.97. 
  • April 11, 2006 - Gold prices surpass $600, the highest point since December 1980, with funds and investors pouring money into commodities on a weak dollar, firm oil prices and political tensions over Iran's nuclear ambitions. 
  • May 12, 2006 - Gold prices peak at $730 an ounce as funds and investors continue to pile into commodities. 
  • June 14, 2006 - Gold falls 26% to $543 from its 26-year peak after investors and speculators sell out of commodities. 
  • November 7, 2007 - Spot gold hits a 28-year high of $845.40. 
  • January 2, 2008 - Spot gold breaks above $850. 
  • March 2008 - Benchmark gold contract trades over $1 000 for the first time in US futures market, hitting all-time highs of $1 030.80 an ounce. 
  • September 17, 2008 - Spot gold rises by nearly $90 an ounce, a record one-day gain, as investors seek safety amid turmoil on the equity markets. 
  • Jan-March 2009 - Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETF) report record inflows in the first quarter as financial sector insecurity spurs safe-haven buying. Holdings in the largest ETF, New York's SPDR Gold Trust, rise 45% to 1,127.44 tons. 
  • February 20, 2009 - Gold rises back above $1 000 an ounce as investors buy bullion as a safe store of value as major economies face recession and equity markets tumble. 
  • April 24, 2009 - China announces it has raised its gold reserves by three-quarters since 2003 and now holds 1,054 tons of the precious metal, boosting expectations it may further boost its stockpile. 
  • August 7, 2009 - European central banks opt to renew their earlier agreement to limit gold sales over a five-year period, setting the sales cap at 400 tons a year. 
  • September 8, 2009 - Gold breaks back through $1 000 an ounce for the first time since February on dollar weakness and concerns over the sustainability of the economic recovery. 
  • December 2009 - Gold hits record high at $1 226.10 an ounce, with dollar weakness and expectations for central banks to diversify reserves into gold driving prices higher. 
  • May-June 2010 - Gold jumps to fresh highs at $1 264.90 an ounce as underlying fears over financial market stability and European sovereign risk combine with dollar weakness to push the metal through resistance at its previous high. 
  • September 2010 - Gold hits record highs peaking at $1 300, as investors flock to bullion after the US Federal Reserve signals it may consider further quantitative easing. The move weakens the dollar and raises fears over future inflation. 
  • October 2010 - Gold rallies to a new record near $1 375 an ounce as the dollar comes under pressure from building expectations for the Fed to take extra measures to keep interest rates low and prop up the economy. 
  • November 2010 - Gold prices break through $1 400 an ounce for the first time as haven buying prompted by renewed budget problems in Ireland more than offset a sharp dollar bounce. 
  • December 7, 2010 - Gold reaches a record high above $1 425 an ounce, driven by fund buying ahead of year-end, jitters over the eurozone debt crisis and speculation about further US monetary easing. 
  • January 2011 - Gold prices fall more than 6% in their worst monthly performance in over a year as a revival in risk appetite diverts investment to higher-yielding assets. 
  • March 7, 2011 - Gold recovers to hit record highs of $1 444.40 an ounce as unrest in Tunisia and Egypt spreads across the Middle East and North Africa, boosting oil prices. 
  • March 24, 2011 - The resignation of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates pushes the eurozone debt crisis back to centre stage, lifting gold prices to a record above $1 447 an ounce.
  • April 7, 2011 - Gold prices extend their record highs toward $1 465 an ounce after the European Central Bank casts doubts over expectations for interest rate rises, while unrest in the Middle East encourages safe-haven buying.
  • July 2011 - Gold hits new highs six times in two weeks, with prices peaking at $1 622.89 an ounce on persistent worries about the eurozone debt crisis and a growing threat of a US government default.
  • Sept 6, 2011 - Gold sets all-time record high of $1 920 as worries about the deadlock over the US debt ceiling talks and eurozone debt crisis fuel safe-haven buying. Fed stimulus measures also encourage buying as investors seek a hedge against inflation. 
  • Sept 26, 2011 - Gold falls below $1 600 an ounce, posting its biggest three-day slide in 28-1/2 years as investors scramble for cash on fears of a Greek debt default.
  • Nov 7, 2011 - Gold rises to a two-month high of $1 794.10 an ounce after German Chancellor Angela Merkel rules out using gold to boost the eurozone bailout fund. Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's decision not to resign plagues the bloc's effort to contain its debt crisis.
  • Dec 29, 2011 - Year-end liquidation by funds and eurozone debt fears push bullion briefly into bear market territory. Gold falls to a six-month low at around $1 520 an ounce. 
  • Feb 29, 2012 - Gold touches a high of $1 790.30 an ounce before sliding 5% on the same day to below $1 690 after Federal Reserve Chairperson Ben Bernanke keeps mum on possibility of another round of monetary easing. 
  • May 16, 2012 - Bullion briefly crosses into bear market territory from its record in September 2011 as intensifying fears about a Greek exit from the eurozone send gold prices to a 2012 low of $1 527 an ounce. 
  • September 2012 - Gold recovers to hit $1 795.69 an ounce, its highest in almost a year and a peak for 2012, after the Fed announces a new round of stimulus with a pledge to buy billions of dollars worth of longer-term Treasuries each month. 
  • December 2012 - Gold rises after the Fed announces another round of stimulus, but the gains are brief as investor enthusiasm for gold as a hedge against inflation starts to wane. Even so, prices rise for a 12th straight year. 
  • January-March 2013 - Speculators cut their net long position in US Comex futures in a shift out of commodities and into stocks as S&P 500 and Dow indices hit record highs. 
  • February 20, 2013 - Federal Reserve minutes suggest US central bank would consider reining in quantitative easing as the world's largest economy continues to recover, triggering around $9bn of net outflows from gold ETFs.
  • March 21, 2013 - Gold hits four-week high at $1 616.36 an ounce underpinned by safe haven demand on fears of a potential financial meltdown in Cyprus.
  • March 25, 2013 - Prices fall to 10-day lows and ETF holdings drop to lowest since July 2011 after Cyprus strikes last-minute bailout deal with EU and IMF lenders.
  • April 5, 2013 - Gold rallies over 1.5%, its biggest one-day gain since November 2012, as disappointing US job data ignites expectations the Fed will continue its bullion-friendly purchases.
  • April 10, 2013 - Gold falls almost 2% after a European Commission report shows Cyprus might be forced to sell bullion reserves to raise around €400m as part of its bailout.
  • April 11, 2013 - Gold sinks more than 5% to below $1 500 an ounce for the first time since July 2011, entering bear territory as institutional investors flee bullion in favour of other safe-haven assets.
  • April 14, 2013 - Panic selling continues with gold plunging 9%, its biggest one-day drop in 30 years, to $1 336.04 an ounce. The sell-off reinforced expectations that bullion's 12 years of gains have come to an abrupt halt.
  • April 16 - Gold recover almost 2% after buyers of physical bullion jumped in at cheaper prices following the historic plummet. There is little confidence that gold is out of the woods.




We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.76
+0.5%
Rand - Pound
19.83
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
16.84
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.20
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.9%
Gold
1,853.18
+0.4%
Silver
21.78
+0.1%
Palladium
2,002.00
+1.6%
Platinum
958.00
-0.1%
Brent Crude
112.55
+0.5%
Top 40
61,788
+1.3%
All Share
68,367
+1.2%
Resource 10
74,616
+2.8%
Industrial 25
73,018
+0.1%
Financial 15
15,916
+1.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot