Here We Go Again - Gold Simply Can’t Stand $1,800!

Here We Go Again - Gold Simply Can’t Stand $1,800!

 

The yellow metal couldn’t face the downward pressure and declined abruptly on Friday. What happened, and why did it fail?

Friday was a brutal time for gold. The price of the yellow metal dropped sharply from around $1,795 to $1,775 in the early morning hours in the US. Am I surprised? Not at all. In Thursday’s edition of the Fundamental Gold Report, I wrote that “gold may struggle until the Fed’s tightening cycle starts. You have been warned!”, and, as if on cue, gold wasn’t able to maintain its position around $1,800 and declined. Actually, gold prices have been testing and failing to hold this key psychological level for the last three weeks.

What exactly happened on Friday? Well, the Bureau of Economic Analysis published the report on personal income and outlays in September 2021. The publication shows that U.S. nominal consumer spending increased 0.6%, while the disposable personal income declined 1.3%, reflecting a decrease in government social benefits.

Additionally, the annual rate of change in personal consumption expenditures price index accelerated from 4.2% in August to 4.4% in September (see the chart below), the highest pace since January 1991.

Here We Go Again - Gold Simply Can’t Stand $1,800! - 1

Wait. Inflation rose, but gold prices declined? Exactly. Inflation is fundamentally positive for gold in the long run, but so far – as I explained last week – “inflationary worries have been counterweighted by the expectations of the Fed’s tightening cycle”. The relationship is simple: higher inflation translates into higher expectations of a more hawkish Fed. The odds of an interest rate hike in June 2022 increased from 23.1% - recorded at the end of September - to 61.6% on October 22 and 65.7% on October 29, 2021. As a result, the bond yields increased, while the greenback strengthened.

There is also another possible driver of rising interest rates and an appreciating US dollar. CPI inflation in the euro area accelerated to 4.1% in October from 3.4% in September, reaching the highest value since July 2008. However, the ECB kept its monetary policy unchanged last week despite quickly rising prices. Moreover, it’s not signaling any tightening of its stance, maintaining that high inflation is transitory even though Christine Lagarde acknowledged that the decline in inflation would take longer than the central bank had initially expected.

The point here is that the ECB remains an outlier among central banks, which either have already tightened or signaled tightening of their monetary policy. This means that the US dollar is likely to appreciate against the euro, which should be another headwind for gold. Having said that, this scenario will occur if the markets believe in a dovish stance of the EBC. The rising yields on German bonds indicate that the markets don’t entirely trust Lagarde’s rhetoric and expect a more hawkish stance of the ECB, which would be fortunate for gold.

 

Implications for Gold

What does higher US inflation imply for the gold market? Well, not so much in the short run. Even though I’ve seen some signs of a bullish revival in the gold market, the bulls remain too weak to challenge the $1,800 level. That’s too much, man!

Luckily, better times are coming for gold. Have you seen the advance estimates of the durable goods orders (0.4% decline in September) or of the GDP in the third quarter of this year? According to the BEA, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.0% (annualized quarterly growth), much below the 6.7% reported in Q2 and much below the expectations of 2.8% growth. When it comes to the annual percentage growth year-over-year, real GDP rose 4.9% compared to 12.2% in Q2, as the chart below shows.

Here We Go Again - Gold Simply Can’t Stand $1,800! - 2

So, the pace of growth remains historically fast, but it’s decelerating quickly. Given that the economy has already reopened and energy and transportation crises are hurting growth (not to mention inflation wreaking havoc), we should expect a further slowdown on the way. And this brings us closer to… yes, you guessed it, stagflation.

To be clear: we are still far from stagnation, but the economic slowdown after a spectacular post-pandemic recovery is already unfolding. When we add it to high inflation, we should get an environment supportive of gold prices. However, supportive factors won’t be able to fully operate until the Fed starts hiking interest rates and gold prices bottom out. Sometimes one needs to hit rock bottom to succeed later; perhaps that’s also the case with gold. Time will tell.

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

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.