2022 and Gold

2022 and Gold

 

2021 was bad for gold. Unfortunately, 2022 doesn’t look any better, especially at the beginning. The end, however, gives the yellow metal some hope…

Bye, bye 2021! It definitely wasn’t a year of gold. As the chart below shows, the yellow metal lost 5% of its value over the last twelve months, declining from $1,887.60 on December 30, 2020, to $1,794.25 on December 29, 2021. Thus, the gold bulls won’t miss 2021, I guess.

Will 2022 Be Better for Gold Than 2021? - 1

What about me? Well, I correctly predicted in January that “gold’s performance in 2021 could be worse than last year”. However, I expected more bullish behavior. I thought that rising inflation would be more supportive of gold prices. I’m fully aware that gold is not a perfect inflation hedge, but historical analysis suggests that high and accelerating inflation should be positive for gold prices. After all, inflation lowers the real interest rates, the key fundamental factor in the gold market.

However, rising inflation has prompted the Fed to tighten its monetary policy and speed up the tapering of its quantitative easing. Expectations of hikes in the federal funds rate in 2022 also strengthened. In consequence, as the chart below shows, bond yields rose, especially those short- and medium-term, creating downward pressure on gold prices. Thus, we’ve learned two important lessons in 2021: don’t just count on inflation, and don’t fight with the (hawkish) Fed.

Will 2022 Be Better for Gold Than 2021? - 2

As you can see, bond yields haven’t returned to their pre-pandemic level yet. Although they don’t have to fully recover, they do have room for further increases. The issue here is that when inflation peaks and disinflation starts, inflation expectations could decline, boosting the real interest rates. Actually, market-based inflation expectations already peaked in November, as shown in the chart below. This indicates that worries about inflation had calmed and investors had regained some confidence in the US central bank’s ability to contain upward price pressure.

Will 2022 Be Better for Gold Than 2021? - 3

 

Implications for Gold

Will 2022 be better for gold than 2021? It’s possible, but I’m not an optimist. I mean here: macroeconomic conditions will turn more bearish for gold. Despite the spreading of Omicron variant of coronavirus, 2022 could mark the end of the global Covid-19 epidemic with a full economic recovery and a return to normal conditions. Fiscal policy will tighten, while the Fed will adopt a more hawkish monetary policy than in 2021. Supply shocks are easing, so inflation may peak, while real interest rates go up further. Moreover, the US dollar may strengthen against the euro, as the ECB is slower with its monetary policy tightening.

On the other hand, there are also some factors that could support gold prices. In 2021, GDP rebounded greatly after the economic crisis of 2020, and financial markets also recovered robustly. 2022 may be more challenging for economic growth and the financial sector, though. One thing is the base effect, while another is central banks’ policy normalization and rising interest rates. With massive public and private debts, the Fed’s tightening cycle could deflate asset and credit bubbles and even trigger a recession, or at least a market correction.

However, there are no signs of market stress yet, so a financial crisis is not in my baseline scenario for the next year. 2023 (or even later) is a more probable timeframe. Hence, I believe that the end of 2022 may be better for gold than the beginning of the year, as mere expectations of the Fed’s tightening cycle could be replaced by worries about the consequences of interest rate hikes.

Anyway, 2021 is (almost) dead. Long live 2022! I wish you a return to normalcy, shining profits and all the golden next year!

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Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

Arkadiusz Sieron

Arkadiusz Sieron

Hi, my name is Arkadiusz Sieroń. Call me a liar, but I am writing about the precious metals thanks to Arthur Laffer, Alan Greenspan, John Keynes and Fredrich Hayek. Really! Would you like to know how these economists, some of whom have been dead for a long time, triggered my adventure with gold? When I was in high school, I took part in the Entrepreneurship Olympic, one of the biggest thematic competitions for pupils from secondary schools. During my preparations, I studied an academic textbook, in which I came across a Laffer curve. Eureka! If the tax revenues are the same at low and high tax rates, the government should lower them! I did not win the competition, but I achieved much more. I decided to become an economist! And I loved the idea of small government and economic freedom since that very moment. After graduating from high school, I moved to the capital. I was very excited, as I started to study economics at the best economics university in the country. However, the professors disappointed me very quickly. Why? They all were statists, supporting extensive government intervention and fiat currencies. Gold? It is a barbarous relic! Have you not read Lord Keynes? I was very depressed. I even considered giving up my studies in economics and enrolling in the Philosophy Faculty! You can see now that I was really desperate. When I was contemplating nothingness and vanity of vanities, a few of my classmates lent me a handful of fascinating books, such as Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. I also discovered the publications of the Austrian economists who supported the idea of the gold standard. It sounded crazy in the 21th century, but it was inspiring. I rediscovered the sense of studying economics. I continued my studies and one day I read these words: “Gold and economic freedom are inseparable”. Try guess who wrote them. Don’t give up, try once again. Don’t know? Alan Greenspan. Shocking, right? This is a quote from his “Gold and Economic Freedom”, an article published in 1966. Several years before he became the Fed Chair, and several more before the real estate bubble, that he helped to pump, up burst. Quite ironic, don’t you think? Both his essay and the Great Recession (and the accompanying bull market) motivated me to study investment portfolio management and the precious metals. I became a certified Investment Adviser very soon and I started to work for the biggest pension fund in the country. My corporate career seemed to be very promising. However, I quickly discovered that the company invested most of the participants’ funds into Treasuries or shares of the big state companies. And they didn’t even want to hear about investing in precious metals. I quit. I found a shelter at the university, as a Ph.D. candidate and – after a defense of my thesis about certain negative consequences of inflation (i.e. the Cantillon effect) – as an Assistant Professor. I was finally free to study economics, freedom, and gold. The more I read about gold, the more I was terrified. Most of the so-called experts who write about the precious metals, don’t have any idea about the subject they discuss. They treat gold as a mere commodity. Or they claim that gold is either worthless as it does not bring any yield or that its price should always rise. I was really let down by the state of understanding of the gold market among the analysts and investors. But I could not do too much. Until the sun shined down on me. I got a job offer at Sunshine Profits. I didn’t hesitate a second and accepted it, although many professors discouraged me: “You are a scholar, focus on science and do not write silly newsletters about bullion" -they advised me. But I did not listen to them, as they clearly didn’t understand the nature of gold. It is not a barbarous relic, it is the longest used money in history, and a clinking witness of human civilization. Gold is the asset, which used to serve as the safe- haven and portfolio diversifier for investors from the entire world for years. I wanted to study its properties and to share with my knowledge with people who do not have time for that. I wanted to help investors to better understand fundamentals of the gold market and improve their investment decisions. I’m happy that I can do that at Sunshine Profits. I’m really proud to be a member of our team and provide investors with high quality investment analyses about the gold market.