February was one of the most volatile months for precious metals in recent history. Gold and silver saw 7.3% and 13.0% fluctuations between their monthly low and high prices respectively. Platinum fell 10% for the month and palladium continued to climb, finishing up 13%.
Corona virus fears dominated market activity throughout February as the virus continued to spread outside China at an increasing rate. Several large corporations revised their revenue estimates downward as a result of decreased manufacturing out of China. Gold initially rose as its haven appeal resurfaced in light of the global economic uncertainty. However, once the scope of the virus, both in the number of cases outside China and its potential effect on global growth, became clearer, stocks quickly tumbled which rippled into other markets as investors scrambled for liquidity to meet margin calls.
The last week of February was the worst week for stocks since the 2008 crisis. Less than a month off record highs, the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow all entered correction territory as the sell-off intensified. The Dow shed over 3700 points and had its worst single day loss of 1190 points during this week. Gold and silver, which benefited most of the month from corona virus worries, ultimately turned negative. Gold fell $75.80 the last trading session of the month, finishing down 0.80% and silver dropped $1.28 the same day, finishing down 10%.