Gold and silver prices surged on Monday as turmoil rocked the equity markets anew in Europe and the United States on worries over persistent global economic sluggishness and sliding oil prices. China's foreign currency reserves fell for the third month in a row, showing the extent of the strain on the yuan as capital outflows gear up, putting pressure on the central bank to devalue the currency in order to save its reserves from depletion.
From the Eurozone, the Sentix Investor Confidence survey fell to 6.0 in February, missing forecasts of 7.2. The pan-European index FTSEurofirst 300 sank 2.42% to a 16-month low at 1,252. Germany's DAX dropped 260 points, or nearly three percent to 9,024, while Britain's FTSE100 index gave up 114 points, or two percent to trade at 5,734. France's CAC 40 index plummeted 2.50% to 4,094.
Investors crowded to buy safe havens across the globe, with precious metals on top of them. Gold futures soared 30 dollars, or 2.54% to a nearly eight-month high at $1,190 an ounce. Silver futures had it even better, jumping nearly 60 cents, or four percent to a three-month high at $15.36 an ounce.
Oil prices suffered as investors lose hope in a deal between major producers to cut production and boost prices. Brent crude futures tumbled 44 cents, or 1.29% to $33.64 a barrel. U.S. crude futures dropped below $30, before trading last at $30.20 a barrel, down a heavy 70 cents on the day, or 2.40%.
Wall Street opened sharply lower in tandem with their European peers, with Dow Jones falling 240 points, or 1.50% to 15,960. NASDAQ Composite skidded 90 points, or 2.02% to 4,272, while Standard and Poor's 500 index gave up 32 points, or 1.80% to 1,846.