Payrolls Release: Gold Reacted Quickly And Decreased... And Got Back In The Game A Moment Later!

Payrolls Release: Gold Reacted Quickly And Decreased... And Got Back In The Game A Moment Later!


The latest employment report strongly supports the Fed’s hawkish narrative. Surprisingly, gold has shown remarkable resilience against it so far.

What a surprise! The US labor market added 467,000 jobs last month. As the chart below shows, the number is below December’s figure (+510,000) but much above market expectations – MarketWatch’s analysts forecasted only 150,000 added jobs. Thus, the report reinforces the optimistic view of the US economy’s strength, especially given that the surprisingly good nonfarm payrolls came despite the disruption to consumer-facing businesses from the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Even Strong Payrolls Couldn’t Knock Gold off Its $1800 Perch - 1

The unemployment rate increased slightly from 3.9% in December to 4% in January, as the chart above shows. However, it was accompanied by a rise in both the labor force participation rate (from 61.9% to 62.2%) and the employment-population ratio (from 59.5% to 59.7%). Last but not least, average hourly earnings have jumped 5.7% over the last 12 months, as you can see in the next chart. It indicates that wage inflation has intensified recently, despite the surge in COVID-19 cases that was expected by some analysts to dent demand for workers.

Even Strong Payrolls Couldn’t Knock Gold off Its $1800 Perch - 2

Hence, the January employment report will cement the hawkish case for the Fed. Rising wages will add to the argument for decisive hiking of interest rates, while the surprisingly strong payrolls will strengthen the Fed’s confidence in the US economy.


Implications for Gold

What does the latest employment report imply for the gold market? The unexpectedly high payrolls should be negative for the yellow metal. However, while gold prices initially plunged below $1,800, they rebounded quickly, returning above its key level, as the chart below shows.

Even Strong Payrolls Couldn’t Knock Gold off Its $1800 Perch - 3

Gold’s resilience in the face of a strong jobs report is noteworthy and quite encouraging. After all, the report strengthened the US dollar and boosted market expectations of a 50-basis point hike in the federal funds rate in March (from 2.6% one month ago to more than 14% now). Such a big move is unlikely, but the point is that financial conditions are tightening without waiting for the Fed’s actual actions. In the past, gold disliked strong economic reports and rising bond yields and showed a negative correlation with nonfarm payrolls, but not this time. More generally, although long-term fundamentals have turned more bearish in recent months, gold has remained stuck at $1,800.

However, last week, two factors could have supported gold prices. The first was rising volatility in the equity market. The S&P 500 Index dropped almost 500 points, or 10%, in January, as the chart below shows. Although it has recovered somewhat, it still remains substantially below the top, with the tech sector experiencing weakness. On Thursday, the shares of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, plunged more than 20%.

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The second potentially bullish driver was last Thursday’s meeting of the ECB’s Governing Council. The central bank of the Eurozone was more hawkish than expected. Christine Lagarde acknowledged inflationary risks and said that she had become more concerned with the recent surge in inflation. According to initial estimates, the annual inflation rate in the euro area amounted to 5.1% in January 2022, the highest since the common currency was created. Lagarde also backed off her previous guidance that the interest rate hike was “very unlikely” in 2022. The ECB’s pivot – the central bank opening the door for the first rate increase since 2011 – boosted the euro against the greenback.

The bottom line is that gold has made itself comfortable around $1,800 and simply doesn’t want – or is not ready – to go away in either direction, at least not yet. The battle between bulls and bears is still on. I’m afraid that, given the relatively aggressive monetary and financial tightening, the sellers will win this clash and gold will drop before the bulls can regain control over the market. However, recent gold’s resilience indicates that there is an underlying bid in the markets and bulls are not giving up.

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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.