Despite Ultra-Hawkish Fed’s Meeting, Gold Jumps

Despite Ultra-Hawkish Fed’s Meeting, Gold Jumps


The FOMC finally raised interest rates and signaled six more hikes this year. Despite the very hawkish dot plot, gold went up in initial reaction.

There has been no breakthrough in Ukraine. Russian invasion has largely stalled on almost all fronts, so the troops are focusing on attacking civilian infrastructure. However, according to some reports, there is a slow but gradual advance in the south. Hence, although Russia is not likely to conquer Kyiv, not saying anything about Western Ukraine, it may take some southern territory under control, connecting Crimea with Donbas. The negotiations are ongoing, but it will be a long time before any agreement is reached.

Let’s move to yesterday’s FOMC meeting. As widely expected, the Fed raised the federal funds rate. Finally! Although one Committee member (James Bullard) opted for a bolder move, the US central bank lifted the target range for its key policy rate only by 25 basis points, from 0-0.25% to 0.25-0.50%. It was the first hike since the end of 2018. The move also marks the start of the Fed’s tightening cycle after two years of ultra-easy monetary policy implemented in a response to the pandemic-related recession.

In support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate from 1/4 to 1/2 percent and anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.

It was, of course, the most important part of the FOMC statement. However, the central bankers also announced the beginning of quantitative tightening, i.e., the reduction of the enormous Fed’s balance sheet, at the next monetary policy meeting in May.

In addition, the Committee expects to begin reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities at a coming meeting.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Fed deleted all references to the pandemic from the statement. Instead, it added a paragraph related to the war in Ukraine, pointing out that its exact implications for the U.S. economy are not yet known, except for the general upward pressure on inflation and downward pressure on GDP growth:

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing tremendous human and economic hardship. The implications for the U.S. economy are highly uncertain, but in the near term the invasion and related events are likely to create additional upward pressure on inflation and weigh on economic activity.

These changes in the statement were widely expected, so their impact on the gold market should be limited.


Dot Plot and Gold

The statement was accompanied by the latest economic projections conducted by the FOMC members. So, how do they look at the economy right now? As the table below shows, the central bankers expect the same unemployment rate and much slower economic growth this year compared to last December. This is a bit strange, as slower GDP growth should be accompanied by higher unemployment, but it’s a positive change for the gold market.

Despite Ultra-Hawkish Fed’s Meeting, Gold Jumps - 1

What’s more, the FOMC participants see inflation now as even more persistent because they expect 4.3% PCE inflation at the end of 2022 instead of 2.6%. Inflation is forecasted to decline in the following years, but only to 2.7% in 2023 and 2.3% in 2024, instead of the 2.3% and 2.1% seen in December. Slower economic growth accompanied by more stubborn inflation makes the economy look more like stagflation, which should be positive for gold prices.

Last but not least, a more aggressive tightening cycle is coming. Brace yourselves! According to the fresh dot plot, the FOMC members see seven hikes in interest rates this year as appropriate. That’s a huge hawkish turn compared to December, when they perceived only three interest rate hikes as desired. The central bankers expect another four hikes in 2024 instead of just the three painted in the previous dot plot. Hence, the whole forecasted path of the federal fund rate has become steeper as it’s expected to reach 1.9% this year and 2.8% next year, compared to the 0.9% and 1.6% seen earlier.

Wow, that’s a huge change that is very bearish for gold prices! The Fed signaled the fastest tightening since 2004-2006, which indicates that it has become really worried about inflation. It’s also possible that the war in Ukraine helped the US central bank adopt a more hawkish stance, as if monetary tightening leads to recession, there is an easy scapegoat to blame.


Implications for Gold

What does the recent FOMC meeting mean for the gold market? Well, the Fed hiked interest rates and announced quantitative tightening. These hawkish actions are theoretically negative for the yellow metal, but they were probably already priced in. The new dot plot is certainly more surprising. It shows higher inflation and slower economic growth this year, which should be bullish for gold. However, the newest economic projections also forecast a much steeper path of interest rates, which should, theoretically, prove to be negative for the price of gold.

How did gold perform? Well, it has been sliding recently in anticipation of the FOMC meeting. As the chart below shows, the price of the yellow metal plunged from $2,039 last week to $1,913 yesterday.

Despite Ultra-Hawkish Fed’s Meeting, Gold Jumps - 2

However, the immediate reaction of gold to the FOMC meeting was positive. As the chart below shows, the price of the yellow metal rebounded, jumping above $1,940. Of course, we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from the short-term moves, but gold’s resilience in the face of the ultra-hawkish FOMC statement is a bullish sign.

Despite Ultra-Hawkish Fed’s Meeting, Gold Jumps - 3

Although it remains to be seen whether the upward move will prove to be sustainable, I wouldn’t be surprised if it will. This is what history actually suggests: when the Fed started its previous tightening cycle in December 2015, the price of gold bottomed out. Of course, history never repeats itself to the letter, but there is another important factor. The newest FOMC statement was very hawkish – probably too hawkish. I don’t believe that the Fed will hike interest rates to 1.9% this year. And you? It means that we have probably reached the peak of the Fed’s hawkishness and that it will rather soften its stance from then on. If I’m right, a lot of the downward pressure that constrained gold should be gone now.

If you enjoyed today’s free gold report, we invite you to check out our premium services. We provide much more detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. In order to enjoy our gold analyses in their full scope, we invite you to subscribe today. If you’re not ready to subscribe yet though and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today!

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.