What Drives The Price of Gold? Part 2: Gold as an Inflation Hedge, Safe-Haven and Portfolio DiversifierAugust 5, 2015, 6:29 PM
Inwe analyzed the nature of gold and defined it as a global monetary asset rather than a commodity. Because of its nature, neither mining production nor industrial demand nor consumer demand nor central banks’ demand drives the gold price. In reality the casual relationship takes place in the opposite direction: the gold price affects these categories of demand. We concluded that the investment demand drives the gold prices, because only professional investors (not consumers) provoke a stable, sustainable rise (or decline) in the gold price. This time we will focus on the investment demand and its determinants.
We begin by providing gold investment demand guide 101, because there are a lot of misconceptions about investing in gold. We explain for example why the analysis of the gold market requires the use of ceteris paribus clause, and why there is no single Holy Grail explaining the price of gold. Then, we analyze the three most important features assigned to gold: inflation-hedge, safe-haven and portfolio diversifier. We show that gold is not an inflation-hedge, at least regarding the short-run and times of low inflation rate. Gold is rather a safe-haven, which protects investors during crises, but not necessarily in normal times of high confidence in the fundamentals of the economy. We argue that the yellow metal can be considered as a form of insurance against systemic risks resulting from the current monetary system based on the fiat U.S. dollar. Finally, we show that because gold is a safe-haven it is also a good portfolio diversifier. We explain what does this mean, why is gold has this quality, and how much of wealth investors should allocate into the yellow metal.
July 3, 2015, 10:39 AM
Neither the financial press, nor academics have reached agreement on gold’s nature and the drivers of its price. In fact, no other asset divides opinions so sharply. Have you ever seen people passionately discussing the nature of copper or the Australian dollar? Probably not, while gold kindles really extreme opinions. There are true gold bugs, who regard the yellow metal as the ultimate money and the only store of value, and gold skeptics, like Warrant Buffer, who consider the yellow metal as a “barbarous relic” without any inherent value. The list of conflicting opinions goes on: gold is simultaneously an inflation hedge, safe-haven against financial crises, luxury-consumption good, reserve currency, shiny commodity with no yield, financial asset and an instrument of diversification.
This edition of Market Overview is first issue in a long series, which analyzes the nature of gold and factors driving its price. We explain why the gold market is so complex and what is the unique nature of gold: particularly, we address the old question whether gold is it a commodity or a currency? There are many opinions about what factors drive the price of gold. Among the candidates you will find the mining supply, technology demand, the jewelry demand and central banks’ purchases. Does the production or these categories of gold demand drive the gold price?
Theis so complex, that we focus today on refuting some popular myths common in the gold market. Examples of such myths include putting enormous emphasis on declining mining production, rising technology demand, strong Asian demand or high central bank buying volumes, when considering these factors as drivers of the gold prices. We believe that these considerations results from misunderstandings of gold’s nature. Thus, in this edition of Market Overview we wanted to show that gold should be analyzed as a currency or a global monetary asset rather than a commodity.
June 2, 2015, 9:48 AM
The gloomy economic situation of Greece has been the topic of many Gold News Monitors – we wrote recently about itand , but also in . Since Hellas has to pay off over €1.5 billion to the IMF in June and €7 billion to the ECB to repay government bonds (including interest), which mature in July and August, it is high time to analyze more thoroughly the relationship between Greece’s debt crisis and gold. We first examine the institutional foundations of the Eurozone and its currency, as the flawed construction of the Eurozone was partially responsible for the Greece’s reckless fiscal behavior. We explain why the euro is a political project without much economic sense and why the current Greek debt crisis was inevitable, given the “tragedy of the euro” responsible for the unstable nature of the Eurozone and its currency. We analyze how the misconstruction of the Eurozone contributed to the Greece’s debt crisis and provide a brief history of the Greece’s financial problems. We examine how the past problems affected the gold market. We focus, however, on the current economic difficulties and the possible future scenarios for Greece. We analyze how the current crisis can influence the gold prices and how the potential scenarios for Greece’s future can affect the global economy and the gold market. The base-case scenario is still that a bailout deal will be reached in coming days, however Hellas is again on the brink and the probability of Grexit increased recently. We examine, thus, what would the Grexit look like and what are the possible effects of such scenario on the gold market.
May 5, 2015, 9:55 AM
Last month a lot of negative data on the global economy was brought to light. China’s trade plunged in March and the World Trade Organization cut the 2015 global trade growth outlook to 3.3 percent from the previous 4 percent. We have already suggested in the Gold News Monitor that weak worldwide trade indicates a coming global slowdown. It is time we shared more details and in this edition of Market Overview we analyze whether the global economy is coming into recession and what it would mean for the U.S. economy (is it really decoupling from the other economies?) and the gold market.
To answer these questions we must examine the correlation between the yellow metal and world GDP growth. How the gold performs during recessions? Does it behave well as investment demand increases or rather badly, because of drop in consumer demand in times of weak economic activity?
We dig also into data on global liquidity, since the BIS and the IMF are warning against global liquidity shock. Market liquidity is structurally lower now than it was in the past, so if the pace and scale of Fed’s tightening are not correctly anticipated by the investors, the possible Fed’s hike could trigger a sell-off in the bond markets similar to the U.S. bond crash in 1994. What are the possible consequences of such shock for the gold market?
In response to numerous questions from European and Asian investors, we also analyze how gold behaves when measured in different currencies than the U.S. dollar, what is the explanation for the negative correlation between gold and the U.S. dollar index and what non-American investors should take into account analyzing their investment in gold.
April 7, 2015, 1:28 PM
The U.S. recovery and the Fed's interest rate hike are the hottest topics right now. The stronger than expected February job market report fueled expectations that the Fed would increase interest rates sooner rather than later. We believed that the market’s reaction was a bit exaggerated, and suggested in the Gold News Monitor not to take the hike for granted. The U.S. recovery is not as strong as it is commonly believed (as was confirmed by the downgraded Fed’s economic projections) and there are many downside risks, such as the Greek crisis, stubbornly low inflation, sluggish wage growth, the Chinese and global slowdown and a too strong greenback, which all may stall the Fed’s hike.
However, we are witnessing divergent monetary policies among the major central banks in the world, with the Fed being practically the only hawk. The financial markets have already set U.S. interest rates at much higher levels than in Europe. And although the Fed looks very hesitant on the proper timing of the hike – how long have we been hearing about the need to normalize monetary policy? – we can assume that the American central bank will finally increase its interest rates, especially that since March it is no longer as “patient” as it used to be.
How will this action change the global economy and affect the gold market? We observed that mere expectations of the Fed’s hike after the publication of the February job market report boosted the U.S. dollar (and punctured expectations after the March FOMC statement caused its plunge). But perhaps a modest increase of 0.25 percent is too small (if not already priced into the market) to change anything? Is the U.S. economy really experiencing recovery, which warrants the Fed’s hike? Has the gold market already discounted the Fed’s hike? How will a strong U.S. dollar affect the global economy and gold market? We are going to answer these critical questions in this edition of the Market Overview.
February 26, 2015, 3:34 PM
A lot has been going on in Europe in the first two months of 2015. Swiss National Bank removed the peg of 1.20 francs per euro and European Central Bank announced the QE program. Then radical left-wing Syriza won the elections in Greece and announced that it wants to renegotiate the bailout plan with the hated troika. Shortly thereafter Sweden joined the growing group of countries that cut its key interest rate and moved it below 0. While the Russian economic crisis aggravated as S&P downgraded (as well as Moody’s a bit later) Russia’s credit rating to junk status, the conflict in Ukraine continued, although the ceasefire was eventually agreed.
All of these events were covered in individual Gold News Monitors, but in the March edition of Market Overview we analyze them very thoroughly (as we did in the case of Russia’s financial troubles in the Feb Market Overview), because of their potential importance for the global economy and gold market. These are the key events that are likely to drive the price of gold in the following months - be sure to be aware of their impact.
February 2, 2015, 7:13 AM
In the last Market Overview we wrote about falling commodity prices and problems of emerging markets resulting from the strong U.S. dollar. In this edition focus on the Russian economy, which suffers from both problems. The rise in the U.S. dollar and the plunge in commodity prices significantly hurt the Russian economy.
The key question is whether the 1998 Russian meltdown will repeat itself. Some analysts point out a few significant differences between 1998 and the current crisis in Russia, like larger foreign exchange reserves and lower public debt, and argue that today’s financial troubles will not be as severe as in the past. Why do they think so and why are they wrong?
In our interconnected global economy, Russia’s financial instability can affect other markets, but should investors expect the Russian trouble to positively affect the gold prices (and your portfolio)? You’ll find our detailed comments on the wounded eastern bear’s impact on the Western economies and gold market in the Feb 2015 Market Overview report.
January 5, 2015, 6:32 AM
Is gold a hedge that rallies when stocks are falling or is gold now a risk-on / risk-off asset just like the stock market? Gold’s performance through business cycles has always been an important issue, but with tumbling crude oil prices in a freefall, it’s become very timely.
The decline in crude oil prices has more implications than most investors think – there is even a very important, yet overlooked link to the part of the bond market. The US dollar’s very strong performance (the fundamental aspect thereof is of great importance), action in the emerging markets, carry trades (not only the yen carry trade) and the issues that investors in the commodity market and – particularly – in the precious metals sector need to be aware of and take into account.
In the January 2015 Market Overview, we analyze the above-mentioned issues and discuss their implications for commodity investors in general and – in particular – for precious metals investors.
December 1, 2014, 11:31 AM
QE3 is now history... Or Is It?
Is the end of QE really a sign of a strong U.S. recovery? Some analysts agree, forecasting that gold will fall towards the $800-$900 level, while others fear that without Fed’s bond-buying program, a market crash may be on its way, leading to investors’ renewed interest in gold.
On October 29, the Fed stopped pumping money into economy in the form of the third round of Quantitative Easing, but there are ways in which the program is still present.
In the Fed’s statement we could read the following: “Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction”. These are the subtle signs that not everything is over just yet. Ending QE is not putting on the brakes; it is just easing off the accelerator.
In the December Market Overview we take a much closer look into this very important matter, explain the above intricacies and discuss their impact on the gold market. We invite you to read it and stay prepared for the coming changes.
November 3, 2014, 9:26 AM
Much is usually written about the link between gold and the USD Index and it is not without a reason. This key relationship often provides the necessary confirmation for opening and closing positions in gold, silver and mining stocks. In turn, taking or failing to take it into account can be equal to the difference between a winning and losing a gold trade.
In the November Market Overview, we dig very deep into this relationship. We explain why’s, how’s and why not’s regarding this all-important link. Does gold always follow dollar’s footsteps (hint: gold soared between 1978 and 1980, while USD moved sideways)? When gold rallies along with the dollar and when does it move independently? In this report you will find answers to these important questions and - most importantly - you’ll learn how to apply this knowledge in the current market environment. We invite you to profit from our insights.
October 6, 2014, 7:53 AM
Gold and the interest rates - the topic has been covered multiple times, but we feel it didn't get enough coverage with regard to some key issues and in October Market Overview we fill this informational gap.
It is often emphasized that gold moves in tune with the real interest rates. However, the situation is not as simple as most analysts suggest. The relationship between gold and rates is complex and there are times and circumstances under which it doesn't have to work in the above-mentioned way (this month's report covers 7 reasons for which it doesn't have to work at all times). Knowing when to apply this link and when to refrain from it could make you many dollars in the following months.
What do terms like: Gibson's Paradox, Golden Dilemma and Elfenbein's model mean in the gold vs. rates discussion and how should one take this relationship into account while preparing for gold's future price swings? We invite you to read the October Market Overview and learn more about these important issues.
September 1, 2014, 6:12 AM
This month’s Market Overview report is dedicated to explaining the very popular relationship between gold and the geopolitical concerns. Gold moved sharply higher when Russia took over Crimea, but now it has erased the previous gains and is generally moving lower even though Russia still has Crimea and the tensions have escalated. Why? Has gold lost its safe-haven status? Why does gold sometimes react to geopolitical events and sometimes it “refuses to respond” to them? Wars, sanctions, threats and rumors regarding the all of them - which could cause gold to move and which can be ignored by gold investors? These are the issues that we discuss in this month’s Market Overview report and we encourage you to read it.
August 5, 2014, 8:29 AM
It is important to review the minutes released recently by the Fed, since they may well signal a turning point in monetary policy. The programs of active purchasing of government debt and commercial assets may be curtailed. Yet, as we have often discussed at length, it is not the most important element. There are other factors of monetary policy to be considered: interest rates for one, and the Federal Open Market Committee suggested they may start to discuss interest rate hikes.
This, and one more factor seem to be what gold investors really need to focus on, instead of following everyone else that talk about the fading away QE program. Will gold still be a good investment when (and if) Fed does what it gently mentions? You'll find our take on the situation in the August Market Overview report.
July 3, 2014, 8:16 AM
Believe it or not, we are finally witnessing a true monetary revolution. Unfortunately it is not the one that gold bugs have long waited for. Quite the opposite. We have the so called “monetary cranks” governing one of the most important central banks in the world. People who set the interest rates not at very low, not even at zero, not even at negative real interest rates, but at negative nominal interest rates. Hold your horses and constrain your joy – this does not concern the interest rate on your loan. It is the interest rate for the deposit facility at the central bank.
It can, however, affect your portfolio in a different way. Read the July Market Overview report and find out how.
June 5, 2014, 3:12 PM
It is quite challenging to fully understand and comprehend governments’ attitudes towards gold. So many times we have heard the preaching against this precious metal. We were being informed that the gold standard, or actually any commodity standard (that is an anti-central bank standard), is too burdensome to keep the economy going (or too burdensome for the central bank to survive). Horrible demons of deflation would eventually come out on top, and what business sector wants price deflation to happen?
May 5, 2014, 10:06 AM
When people think about ways of generating economic growth they usually focus on the results. Will the results be significant? Will the inflation stay under the target level? Will the unemployment levels decrease? Many hours are spent on discussing these issues and comparing costs with gains, and even more hours are spent on writing long research papers.
There is, however, one question that is just as important and that is rarely asked. The question is how the goal (whether it is justified or not) is going to be reached. It's not something that can be forgotten. It's something that makes a huge difference on the entire economy and whose impact is always felt by individual citizens and investors. That's something we have to take into consideration and use this knowledge to position ourselves correctly in the long-term market trends. That's also something that we discuss in this month's Market Overview report.
April 1, 2014, 12:52 PM
The price of gold depends on many factors, but past patterns can give us important hints and suggest which of them are to be carefully studied and properly comprehended. If history were to teach us anything about gold’s past market values it would most primarily be the following: watch out for the feds! Wise observation of government policies is the main driving force for what is happening in the gold market (surely along with supply factors in the longer run). As we discussed a month ago, this is the main reason for the observed correlation between the gold price and the interest rates. Not because interest rates per se are always casually linked to the gold price. But because interest rates are a reflection of current government policies. In the April Market Overview report we are going back to the possible interest rate hike subject, so passionately and almost obsessively discussed in the media. What's likely to happen soon and what's likely years away? We invite you to read our thoughts on this topic in the current report.
March 4, 2014, 11:57 AM
Can the gold price be fundamentally related to some other economic variables? Can we use those variables successfully in order to predict future price of gold? Is gold highly correlated with any of those variables?
Real interest rates are often said to be highly correlated to gold. Is this really the case and just how much can they tell us about future gold price moves? This is the issue which we deal with in greater detail in this month's Market Overview. We invite you to read it and stay updated on gold prices given signals from the real rates.
February 3, 2014, 12:20 PM
Recent days have seen a round of stories as to how emerging markets are declining. Argentinian currency is tumbling down, the Venezuelan currency has been greatly devalued, the Brazilian economy got hit, the Turkish lira is collapsing. As one of the commentators of Business Insider summarized, it was a real “bloodbath” in the emerging markets. How will all this affect the dollar economy? How will the USD itself perform?
As we have demonstrated in the Market Overview again and again, the Federal Reserve dropped inflationary bombs. Inflationary in the purely monetary sense by supplying money in almost ridiculous amounts, especially base money figures. During this process some commentators believed that the dollar would soon evaporate. It hasn't and, in fact, the USD Index has been moving higher since 2008. Why? How is that possible given all the dollars that have been "printed" since that time? Doesn't the basic law of supply and demand work anymore? In the January 2014 Market Overview we analyze this critical issue and - as always - we discuss the implications for the gold market.
January 6, 2014, 4:08 PM
As we know the Taper ghost is here. But does it change anything in our outlook for the upcoming 2014?
In the January 2014 Market Overview report we illustrate just how much is different after Fed's recent comments and the decision to taper the open-ended Quantitative Easing program, and we discuss Fed officials' predictions regarding interest rates in 2014 and 2015.
There is much speculation on how the balance sheet is to be adjusted. In general the Fed communicates to the public the program as it is aimed at some particular macroeconomic variables such as GDP growth, inflation rate and so forth. Actually it is more probable that the program is based on direct considerations about the financial market. In the January report we discuss the probable real reason behind the tapering.
As always, the report discusses the implications of the above for the gold market.
December 2, 2013, 6:11 AM
Tapering is not the same as tightening even though everyone seems to view these terms as synonyms. We had previously described tapering as highly unlikely, but the truth is that it was an oversimplification that we used to make a point about the possibility of monetary policy tightening without getting into details - which we do in the December Market Overview.
Some form of “tapering” may actually happen even though the Fed stays “easy like Sunday morning” in its approach to money printing, and… One form of tapering has already been seen in 2010!
The truth is that there's much more to the tapering issue than just the Quantitative Easing program simply because there are more tools that the Fed uses than the QE itself:
- Interest rates are kept very low for a significant amount of time
- Quantitative easing, which means money production for support of various assets, especially government bonds
- Easing in terms of qualitative aspects, that is the expansion of the Fed's balance sheet which has benefited not only government bonds, but also mortgage backed securities
One of the most important questions for gold investors regarding Fed's policy is what could be tapered and what's highly unlikely to be tapered. The even more important question is how it will impact gold market and your portfolio. You'll find details in today's essay.
November 4, 2013, 9:29 AM
It turns out that Bernanke had told investors what he would do years before it happened... That is, if investors had known what they should've focused on. In the November Market Overview report we'll discuss these very early indications and examine what an analogous technique can tell us about Yellen and the upcoming years.
In this month's report we'll also discuss Yellen's efficiency in predicting the inflation rate, labor markets outcomes and GDP growth. She has been widely praised as the best predictor from the group of the Federal Reserve Policy makers. However, it is not her efficiency that is the most important thing that investors should be considering. It is the justification behind these predictions. When one digs deeper and gets to the core of Yellen's approach, one will be well-prepared for her actions despite the usual smoke-and-mirrors talks preceding the meetings.
We have, and we put our findings in this month's report. As you may recall, we wrote that there would most likely be no tapering weeks before the official statement and despite the popular opinion. The November Market Overview gives you the very first heads-up on what's to come based on techniques that have already worked.
October 1, 2013, 7:55 AM
In September we observed a highly overrated meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. It attracted lots of media and investor attention because many were expecting the Fed to announce the beginning of “tapering.” All the hoopla surrounding the meeting turned to naught when tapering tapered out, but the question remains: how will the tapering look like and when will it take place?
September 20, 2013, 1:16 PM
Although follow-ups are not a regular part of the Market Overview service, we wrote one to keep you 100% updated on the most important economic piece of information - the Fed decision to keep the QE program intact. As we explained in the previous report, this was in fact the likely outcome - Fed minutes indicated it. What's next? Will we see tapering this year? What's the outlook for gold given the recent comments? What's the link between Fed's decision and the fact that Fed's new Chairman will be chosen shortly? These are the key issues that we focus on in today's quick follow-up.
September 3, 2013, 1:46 PM
In the September Market Overview report we will focus on what is probably the most important factor that will to a great extent determine what will happen in the coming months, not just in the precious metals market, but also in bonds, stocks and real estate markets.
Yes, you guessed correctly – we are going to discuss the Fed’s possible actions and the probable effects on the markets. Will we actually see any form of tapering or will we just hear about it? If so how will remarks made by the Fed impact actual events? As you know, very often what Bernanke or someone other Fed official says can ignite large price moves. So, for the analysis to be complete, we should focus not only on what happens but also on how it is announced.
Based on the possible combinations we created eight scenarios and we discuss how each of the markets (gold, stocks, bonds, real estate) could perform in each of them. We also explain which are the most and least likely. If they play out in the future you will already know what to expect in the following weeks/months. Be prepared.
August 27, 2015, 7:03 AM
August 26, 2015, 5:01 AM
August 25, 2015, 8:19 AM