Is your faith in Gold restored, or are you still nursing burnt fingers?


ref: - Gold prices are up: What now?”, Kitco.com

Gold is always referred to as the classic safe-haven, but the fact is that in recent years it has flattered to deceive far too often for many investors' tastes. "Flights to safety" in times of stress have been aimed more towards other vehicles better suited for the purpose such as government bonds, the Japanese Yen or even the mighty US Dollar. Which is not to say that Gold is totally ignored .... the bullion price tends to receive short-term, knee-jerk boosts when things get dicey without being able to stage the more substantial rally that gold hawks have long been waiting for.

Perhaps our judgement has been spoiled by Gold's spectacular rise to nigh on $1,900 per oz in 2011. After all, the latest bout of doom-mongering over the last two weeks or so has seen the gold price rally from a low of about $1,274 to a high yesterday close to $1,328 (last at $1,322). That's a move of some way over 4%, and with the kind of leverage investors are able to utilize to trade commodity markets, in particular, it's a move that's not to be sniffed at .... considerable sums will already have been earned (and lost).

Back in 2017 a number of the world's largest hedge funds were advising putting a significant slice of portfolios (say 5-10%) into gold. Depending on when exactly investors might have followed that advice, at today's prices they might have either made or lost some money, but we can't help thinking that those fund managers had something rather more striking in mind for the gold price when they were making those recommendations. If you pull up a gold chart, it's easy to see how over the last five years there has consistently been a wall of selling to keep a lid on gold at around $1,350. The question is: will we see that selling reappear to again put a block on the renewed enthusiasm for the yellow metal, or is there a genuine chance -- finally -- of a more dramatic move?

You've got to ask yourself why Gold lost some of its allure as a haven in the first place. Foremost among a number of reasons were:

Firstly, the strength of the US Dollar -- Gold is quoted in Dollars and a strengthening US unit puts downward price pressure on any commodity traded in that currency, and

Secondly, the Dollar has been strong in large part on the back of favourable interest rate differentials. Buoyed by a robust economy, the US Fed was able to repeatedly raise rates as other central banks, hamstrung by less convincing growth, kept their super-easy monetary policies in play. But a scenario of rising rates and yields in the world's largest economy is bad news for Gold, an investment that offers no yield whatsoever.

But Gold bulls will be telling us that now the picture has changed. The US Fed may once have had designs to continue with rate rises but now the fear is one of recession. US data so far remains strong, but inevitably the economy will suffer from global headwinds. The economic slowdown will be exacerbated by the scaling trade conflict that some thought would be sorted by now, with the result that rather than more US rate hikes the markets are suddenly pricing in two 25bp CUTS this year as the most likely scenario. One could also conclude that lower rates might hurt the Dollar, which would be helpful for Gold. Further down the yield curve the headlong flight into government bonds, especially US Treasuries, is fast lowering yields and reducing the weight of the argument against Gold on that score.

Technically, and psychologically, Gold has got a lot of baggage to overcome if it's really going to stage a sustained breakout rally. All one can say is that conditions are probably better aligned towards that outcome than they have been for quite some time .... which of course is no guarantee whatsoever. But then again, and despite its reputation throughout history as the safest store of value, more recent events suggest that if it's guaranteed you're after then the gold market is probably not the place for you anyway.

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