It certainly has been a day to forget for investors of Australia’s leading gold producers. The likes of Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM), St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM), and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) have all seen their respective share prices plunge dramatically in morning trade.

With almost every single gold miner pointing lower, the S&P/ASX All Ords Gold (Index: ^AXGD) (ASX: XGD) has been dragged down by an incredible 7% so far today.

Company Share Price Market Cap Loss
OceanaGold Corporation (ASX: OGC) $3.59 $2,143.0 -14.7%
Gascoyne Resources Ltd (ASX: GCY) $0.59 $149.5 -10.6%
Millennium Minerals Ltd. (ASX: MOY) $0.29 $230.4 -10.6%
Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) $1.73 $1,272.3 -9.2%
Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) $4.09 $2,453.2 -9.0%
Burey Gold Limited (ASX: BYR) $0.06 $79.2 -8.7%
Ramelius Resources Limited (ASX: RMS) $0.44 $228.5 -8.4%
Blackham Resources Ltd (ASX: BLK) $0.77 $218.7 -8.3%
Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX: SAR) $1.27 $1,027.9 -8.3%
EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) $2.32 $4,239.0 -8.3%
Perseus Mining Limited (ASX: PRU) $0.50 $509.1 -8.0%
St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) $2.89 $1,439.8 -7.8%
Regis Resources Limited (ASX: RRL) $3.57 $1,788.5 -6.3%
Metals X Limited (ASX: MLX) $1.38 $833.2 -6.8%
Emmerson Resources Limited (ASX: ERM) $0.14 $53.0 -6.7%
Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX: SLR) $0.48 $242.8 -6.4%
Troy Resources Ltd (ASX: TRY) $0.38 $172.5 -6.2%
Alacer Gold Corp – CDI (ASX: AQG) $3.05 $255.0 -6.2%
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) $21.06 $16,142.7 -6.1%
Medusa Mining Limited (ASX: MML) $0.66 $137.1 -5.7%

Source: Google Finance

Today’s decline is the result of a sudden and sharp drop in the gold price which has taken it to a three-month low of just US$1,269 an ounce.

Only last week the spot gold price was US$71 higher at US$1,341 an ounce, so what caused the sudden 5.4% drop in this precious metal’s price?

According to CNBC, there are numerous factors at play here. Firstly, positive manufacturing data out of the United States on Monday has raised expectations of the US Federal Reserve raising rates this year. As the US dollar strengthens, the gold price is widely expected to weaken.

In addition to this, the fears over Deutsche Bank collapsing appear to have been abated at least for now. With investors’ appetite for risk increasing, investors have been leaving the safe haven of gold and into risk assets again.

Finally, the key technical US$1,300 support level has been breached. The gold price had traded comfortably between US$1,300 and US$1,350 for the last six weeks. But with it finally breaking through its support level, gold has been subjected to heavy selling by traders.

Whilst the gold price could rebound, as I have said for a while now, I would personally recommend investors take their profits and look to reinvest elsewhere on the market.

It seems inevitable that the United States will start to raise interest rates again in the near future, putting significant pressure on the gold price and the share prices of Australia’s gold producers.

Instead of investing in the gold miners I would highly recommend taking a look at these rapidly growing shares instead. Each is growing their earnings at a strong rate and has the potential to bolt higher in the months ahead.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.