Gold prices dropped to below $1,400 per ounce Monday
, the lowest in more than two years, leaving investors scrambling to sell the precious metal that was once a hot commodity.
Traders looked to dump their shares Friday, when the U.S. government reported that the wholesale prices of gold fell in March by the most in 10 months.
"It's as if you shouted 'fire!' in a crowded movie theater and everyone tried to get out through the same exit," Jeffrey Nichols, senior economic adviser to Roslind Capital, told USA Today.
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Gold prices are now down by more than 20 percent since 2011, according to Yahoo's Market Watch.
"The strengthening of the U.S. dollar, news that Cyprus could soon unload excess gold reserves, bearish outlooks on gold from big investment banks like Goldman Sachs, warning signs emanating from the Chinese economy, and just outright selling of gold by influential investors like George Soros, have all contributed to the gold crash that has seen gold enter a bear market [characterized by falling prices and growing pessimism," writes Forbes' Nathan Vardi.
But how far can gold fall? The average gold decline since 1975 is 31.6 percent, according to Bespoke Investment Group. And gold typically falls an additional 14 percent after its first close in bear market territory, historical data show.
"While markets rarely follow the average pattern to a 'T,' it does provide a baseline guide of what to expect," Bespoke co-founder Paul Hickey told USA Today.
Prices could drop to $1,310 by June, Sterling Smith, a Chicago-based commodity futures specialist at Citigroup Global Markets Inc., told Bloomberg Monday.
It's not just the United States that's suffering. India, Japan, Russia, China, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Germany are also experiencing plummeting gold prices.
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Other precious metals were also hit by heavy selling, with silver falling to its lowest since October 2010, platinum at its weakest since August last year, and palladium hitting a three-month low.
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