How the Fed Will Affect Gold? Let's Take A Look Back...

Price Of Gold Update By GoldViewFX

 

Beware, the Fed’s tightening of monetary policy could lift real interest rates! For gold, this poses a risk of prices wildly rolling down.

The first FOMC meeting in 2022 is behind us. What can we expect from the US central bank this year and how will it affect the price of gold? Well, this year’s episode of Fed Street will be sponsored by the letter “T”, which stands for “tightening”. It will consist of three elements.

First, quantitative easing tapering. The asset purchases are going to end by early March. To be clear, during tapering, the Fed is still buying securities, so it remains accommodative, but less and less. Tapering has been very gradual and well-telegraphed to the markets, so it’s probably already priced in gold. Thus, the infamous taper tantrum shouldn’t replay.

Second, quantitative tightening. Soon after the end of asset purchases, the Fed will begin shrinking its mammoth balance sheet. As the chart below shows, it has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic, reaching about $9 trillion, or about 36% of the country’s GDP. It’s so gigantic that even Powell admitted during his January press conference that “the balance sheet is substantially larger than it needs to be.” Captain Obvious attacked again!

Will the Fed Tighten Gold? The Consequences Might Be Ignoble - 1

In contrast to tapering, which just reduces additions to the Fed’s holdings, quantitative tightening will shrink the balance sheet. How much? It’s hard to say. Last time, during QT from 2017 to 2019, the Fed started unloading $10 billion in assets per month, gradually lifting the cap to $50 billion.

Given that inflation is now much higher, and the Fed has greater confidence in the economic recovery, the scale of reduction would probably be higher. The QT will create upward pressure on interest rates, which could be negative for the gold market.

However, QT will be a very gradual and orderly process. Instead of selling assets directly, the US central bank will stop reinvestment of proceeds as securities run off. As we can read in “Principles for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet”,

The Committee intends to reduce the Federal Reserve's securities holdings over time in a predictable manner primarily by adjusting the amounts reinvested of principal payments received from securities held in the System Open Market Account.

What’s more, the previous case of QT wasn’t detrimental to gold, as the chart below shows. The price of gold started to rally in late 2018 and especially later in mid-2019.

Will the Fed Tighten Gold? The Consequences Might Be Ignoble - 2

Third, the hiking cycle. In March, the Fed is going to start increasing the federal funds rate. According to the financial markets, the US central bank will enact five interest rate hikes this year, raising the federal funds rate to the range of 1.25-1.50%.

Now, there are two narratives about American monetary policy in 2022. According to the first, we are witnessing a hawkish revolution within the Fed, as it would shift its monetary stance in a relatively short time. The central bank will “double tighten” (i.e., it will shrink its balance sheet at the same time as hiking rates), and it will do it in a much more aggressive way than after the Great Recession. Such decisive moves will significantly raise the bond yields, which will hit gold prices. However, in this scenario, the Fed’s aggressive actions will eventually lead to the inversion of the yield curve and later to recession, which should support the precious metals market.

On the other hand, some analysts point out that central bankers are all talk and – given their dovish bias – act less aggressively than they promise, chickening out in the face of the first stock market turbulence. They also claim that all the Fed’s actions won’t be enough to combat inflation and that monetary conditions will remain relatively loose. For example, Stephen Roach argues that “the Fed is so far behind [the curve] that it can’t even see the curve.” Indeed, the real federal funds rate is deeply negative (around -7%), as the chart below shows; and even if inflation moderates to 3.5% while the Fed conducts four hikes, it will remain well below zero (about -2%), providing some support for gold prices.

Will the Fed Tighten Gold? The Consequences Might Be Ignoble - 3

Which narrative is correct? Well, there are grains of truth in both of them. However, I would like to remind you that what really matters for the markets is the change or direction, not the level of a variable. Hence, the fact that real interest rates are to stay extremely low doesn’t guarantee that gold prices won’t decline in a response to the hiking cycle.

Actually, as the chart above shows, the upward reversal in the real interest rates usually plunges gold prices. Given that real rates are at a record low, a normalization is still ahead of us. Hence, unless inflation continues to rise, bond yields are likely to move up, while gold – to move down.

Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. We hope you enjoyed it. If so, we would like to invite you to sign up for our free gold newsletter. Once you sign up, you’ll also get 7-day no-obligation trial of all our premium gold services, including our Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. Sign up today!

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

Price Of Gold Update By GoldViewFX

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.