Powell Sends a Smile to Gold

Powell Sends a Smile to Gold


Powell testified before the Senate. He didn’t say anything new, but gold rallied a bit.

“We have totally screwed up inflation and now we are in deep trouble,” admitted Jerome Powell during his appearance before the Senate. OK, he didn’t formulate it exactly that way, but it was the message of his testimony. Powell admitted that the Fed wrongly expected a faster easing of supply disruptions and thought that price pressures would be much lower by now. As a consequence, inflation was believed to be only ‘transitory’. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

“The supply-side constraints have been very durable. We are not seeing the kind of progress that all forecasters thought we’d be seeing by now. We did foresee a strong spike in demand. We didn’t know it would be so focused on goods,” said

As a result of the Fed’s inaction, inflation has risen 7% in 2021, the fastest pace since February 1982, as the chart below shows. After conducting very complicated calculations, Powell admitted that “inflation is running very far above target.” Bold deduction, Sherlock!

Powell Sends a Smile to Gold - 1

Such high inflation is indeed a troublesome and even central bankers realize that. This is why Powell stated that “the economy no longer needs or wants the very accommodative policies we have had in place,” and that “we will use our tools to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched.”

However, there is a problem here. The main tool the Fed has to fight inflation is raising the federal funds rate, but hiking interest rates may hamper economic expansion and even trigger the next financial crisis. As Powell admitted, “if inflation does become too persistent, that will lead to much tighter monetary policy and that could lead to a recession.” Thus, the central bank is between a rock and a hard place, between high inflation and the risk of slowing economic expansion or even of an economic crisis.


Implications for Gold

What does Powell’s testimony imply for the gold market? Well, theoretically not much, as it didn’t include any major surprises. However, Powell sounded quite hawkish. For example, he downplayed the economic consequences of the current surge in coronavirus cases, and said that it’s likely not changing the Fed’s plans to tighten its monetary policy this year. These plans are relatively bold for this year: “We are going to end asset purchases in March. We will raise rates. And at some point this year will let the balance sheet runoff,” Powell said.

However, it seems that Powell sounded less hawkish than investors were afraid of. Given such worries, the lack of any surprises could be dovish. This is at least what gold’s performance suggests. As the chart below shows, Powell’s testimony triggered a small rally and revived optimism in the gold market.

Powell Sends a Smile to Gold - 2

That’s for sure encouraging. After all, gold jumped above a key level of $1,800, catching some breath, but it’s too early to call a major reversal in the gold market. The yellow metal would have to sustain itself above $1,820 and then surpass $1,850, or even higher levels, to trumpet a bullish breakout.

There are still several headwinds for gold. First of all, the monetary hawks haven’t struck yet. They are growing in strength, as several regional bank presidents have recently called for a rate hike as soon as in March. Such calls may strengthen the expectations of rate increases, boosting bond yields, and creating downward pressure for gold prices. We’ll find out soon whether it will happen or not, as the January FOMC meeting is in two weeks, and it could be a groundbreaking event in the gold market.

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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.