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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Gold prices fell for the first time in five sessions on Wednesday and by the most since March 31, after rising to their highest since late 2012 on Tuesday. A stronger dollar helped clip the value of the precious metal, which has risen by nearly 10% so far this month.

What's happening: In an unusual trend, gold has moved largely in concert with stock prices recently, upending their typically inverse relationship.

What it means: The correlation with equities is largely explained by the actions of central banks, which have unleashed an unprecedented level of monetary policy easing, experts say.

  • The IMF said Tuesday that "central banks have announced plans to expand their provision of liquidity — including through loans and asset purchases — by at least $6 trillion and have indicated a readiness to do more if conditions warrant."

One level deeper: While gold is a safe haven, it is also an alternative to both fiat currency and other assets. Gold pays no interest or dividends, so it is sought by investors when inflation expectations are low.

  • Central bank easing has buried expectations for inflation to rise and also pushed investors out of assets like U.S. Treasury bonds and into risky assets like stocks, pumping up the price.

What to watch: Even at its current value, "gold is a rational trade," Alicia Levine, chief strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management, tells Axios.

  • "Central banks printing money is part of the reason that gold has and will probably continue to have a bid for a while."
  • "It’s not just an expression of a safe-haven play, it’s also a way of protecting from fiat currency being devalued."

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - World

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The U.S. will sanction 7 senior Russian officials over the poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, senior administration officials told reporters on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The sanctions represent the first penalties the U.S. has imposed on Kremlin-linked officials since President Biden took office and pledged to confront Russian aggression.

Democrats to take up immigration reform next week

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Why it matters: This is likely the only realistic shot the Biden administration has at this point to pass immigration reform.

Scoop: Biden briefing calls for 20,000 child migrant beds

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A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.