Friday's session brought us an informative sign for the precious metals. This development took place in the USD, as the world reserve currency initially declined only to reverse and close higher. Interestingly, the precious metals sector didn't react with a decline. Gold, silver and miners all closed higher, so this question naturally follows - what can we make of their upswing? Let's explore how the short- and long-term are affected exactly.
Let's start with the update on the short-term moves. The timely question is just how much did the latest upswing change.
Gold, Silver and Miners on Friday
The timely reply is that even though gold moved visibly higher on Friday, it didn't really change anything. Since the support line that gold broke previously is a rising line, it is now higher than it was during the breakdown. Friday's upswing didn't take gold above the line, which means that the breakdown wasn't invalidated. This in turn means that nothing really changed from the short-term point of view in gold.
The same was the case with regard to silver. The white metal moved up just a little on Friday and it definitely didn't invalidate the previous breakdown on that day. Silver moved visibly higher in today's pre-market trading, but it didn't rally above the rising support line - only moved back to it. This means that both:
- The breakdown is being verified.
- The white metal is outperforming gold on a very short-term basis.
Both are bearish, not bullish, factors.
The gold stocks (HUI Index) closed relatively high, but still very far from their previously broken uptrend.
Please note that the current moves in gold and the HUI Index are relatively similar to what happened in the first half of August. Gold is moving back and forth at similar levels and so is the HUI Index. The miners' very short-term moves are bigger but the volume is lower this time, though. While the implications are not yet clear, the odds are that the current back and forth movement (a slight rally) is actually the right shoulder of the bearish head and shoulders formation. The volume should be relatively small during the right shoulder, and this has been the case recently. The implications are not clear yet, because the formation is not yet completed. Once gold confirms its breakdown below $1,490 and the HUI confirms its breakdown below (approximately) 200, the next big slide will follow. Given what is happening in the USD Index, the start of this slide is likely just around the corner.
The USD Index Reversal
What our Friday's comments as well as the ones from Tuesday remain up-to-date (and if you haven't read Tuesday's analysis yet, we strongly encourage you to do so today for the long-term details):
It was yet another higher low. The ultimate low this year formed in early January. Then, we saw a higher low in late January. Then a higher low in March, then a higher low in June, then a higher low in mid-July, then two higher lows in August and finally the higher low that we saw this week. Higher lows mean uptrend. Trendlines are useful to detect the turnarounds and Fibonacci retracements tell us if the move in the opposite direction is significant enough to be viewed as a trend change. However, the underlying rule is simple. If the price is on average moving up, then the market is an uptrend. Looking at the relative placement of lows and highs tells us the same thing. By the way, the highs in the USD Index have also been increasing this year.
While the rising black support line was already broken, it didn't cause the USDX to decline below the previous local low. It didn't decline below the red line that's based on the August lows either. And that's despite Trump calling for zero percent rate policy or even negative interest rate policy.
In the previous Alerts we wrote that the market will be viewing the U.S. President's tweets and comments as less and less important, given how often Trump changes his mind (remember how quickly North Korean "fire and fury" threats turned into a handshake?). The higher USDX lows confirm that. It didn't matter that Trump demanded radically lower interest rates. The currency traders didn't care much.
What did all the above result in? We have the USD Index above 98, close to the yearly highs. It mostly doesn't react to bearish news and it comes back stronger after each of such news is presented.
The outlook for the USD Index remains bullish.
There's one more detail about the USD Index chart that we would like to discuss. It's the vertex of the triangle that's based on the rising green resistance line and the rising black resistance line. The vertex is on Monday. That's notable, because each line is based on three price extremes, which means that they both already proved to be important support / resistance lines. The vertexes of triangles tend to mark reversal dates, which means that the USD Index is likely to reverse its course on Monday or around it (perhaps even today).
Now, if the general trend is up, then the above is likely to mean a bottom in the USDX and then a rally. However, in order for the bottom to form, the price would have to come down. This means that the U.S. dollar could temporarily decline here, even despite all the bullish indications that we have right now.
This in turn means that gold, silver, and mining stocks could still move a bit higher before plunging. The emphasis goes on "could" and "a bit". In the last few weeks, gold and silver managed to decline on their own - so even if the USD declines, it's not a sure thing that the PMs will rally. And even if they do, they are unlikely to rally far. Still, it seems useful to know that such a possibility exists - so that a temporary upswing doesn't make one question all the bearish factors that remain in place. Speaking of the bearish factors, here they are. The links below include the analyses with discussions of these main points.
The USD Index moved lower on Friday and then reversed before the end of the session. Given the proximity of the triangle vertex reversal, it could be the case that this was the final bottom before the next upswing. Alternatively, it could be the case that the USDX bottoms today or tomorrow. Either way, the start of the next rally is most likely very close.
What about the long-term point of view? Let's check the current status.
The Long-Term Perspective in Precious Metals
Gold moved higher last week, but it didn't entirely erase previous week's decline. The volume was relatively low. The last time that we saw relatively low volume during a weekly upswing was in mid-August, and that week's closing price was the top - most likely ending gold's 2019 rally (in terms of the weekly closes, that is). Just because gold formed the major top, it doesn't mean that it will now decline in a straight line. Conversely, please note that even the 2012-2013 decline had periodical 1-3-week-long corrections.
The RSI above 70 confirms gold's very overbought status and the need to decline in the following weeks. The sell signal from the Stochastic indicator remains intact as well, pointing to lower gold prices in the following weeks.
Silver did very little last week so everything that we wrote previously on the above chart remains up-to-date. Silver invalidated its temporary breakout above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level based on the 2016 - 2018 declines. It additionally formed a huge reversal candlestick and it took place on enormous volume. This is a very strong bearish combination for the following weeks and months.
The RSI moved below 70 after being extremely overbought. Since 2007, all but one (the 2010 rally) case when it happened were followed huge declines. The 2008 top, the 2011 top, the late-2012 top, and the 2016 top were all preceded by this development. Sure, silver's recent rally may appear bullish at first sight, but the history tends to rhyme. This time is unlikely to be different, and silver is likely to do what it's almost always done in these circumstances: decline heavily.
Key Factors to Keep in Mind
- The USD Index broke above the very long-term resistance line and verified the breakout above it. Its huge upswing is already underway.
- The USD's long-term upswing is an extremely important and bearish factor for gold. There were only two similar cases in the past few decades, when USD Index was starting profound, long-term bull markets, and they were both accompanied by huge declines in gold and the rest of the precious metals market
- Out of these two similar cases, only one is very similar - the case when gold topped in February 1996. The similarity extends beyond gold's about a yearly delay in reaction to the USD's rally. Also the shape of gold price moves prior to the 1996 high and what we saw in the last couple of years is very similar, which confirm the analysis of the gold-USD link and the above-mentioned implications of USD Index's long-term breakout.
- The similarity between now and 1996 extends to silver and mining stocks - in other words, it goes beyond USD, gold-USD link, and gold itself. The white metal and its miners appear to be in a similar position as well, and the implications are particularly bearish for the miners. After their 1996 top, they erased more than 2/3rds of their prices.
- Many investors got excited by the gold-is-soaring theme in the last few months, but looking beyond the short-term moves, reveals that most of the precious metals sector didn't show substantial strength that would be really visible from the long-term perspective. Gold doesn't appear to be starting a new bull market here, but rather to be an exception from the rule.
- Gold's True Seasonality around the US Labor Day points to a big decline shortly.
Very important, but not as critical factors:
- Long-term technical signs for silver, i.a. the analogy in terms of price to what we saw in 2008, shows that silver could slide even below $10.
- Silver's very long-term cycles point to a major reversal taking place right now and since the most recent move was up, the implications are bearish (this is also silver's technical sign, but it's so important that it deserves its own point)
- Long-term technical signs for gold stocks point to this not being a new gold bull market beginning. Among others, it's their long-term underperformance relative to gold that hint this is rather a corrective upswing within a bear market that is not over yet.
- Record-breaking weekly volume in gold is a strong sign pointing to lower gold prices
- Extreme volume reading in the SIL ETF (proxy for silver stocks) is an effective indication that lower values of silver miners are to be expected
- Silver's short-term outperformance of gold, and gold stocks' short-term underperformance of gold both confirm that the precious metals sector is topping here
- Gold topped almost right at its cyclical turning point, which makes the trend reversal more likely
- Copper broke below its head-and-shoulders pattern and confirmed the breakdown. The last time we saw something similar was in April 2013, when the entire precious metals sector was on the verge of plunging lower.
Moreover, please note that while there may be a recession threat, it doesn't mean that gold has to rally immediately. Both: recession and gold's multi-year rally could be many months away - comparing what happened to bond yields in the 90s confirms that.
Copper moved above the neck level of its head-and-shoulders pattern that's based on the intraday lows, but it didn't invalidate the analogous level based on the weekly closing prices, so we don't think it's justified to say that this bearish formation was invalidated at this time.
Summing up, the big decline in the precious metals sector appears to be finally underway, and the temporary USD-reversal-caused rally in gold and silver is likely coming to an end. Let's keep in mind that once the USDX takes off, it will likely serve as fuel to the fire-like decline in the PMs that's already underway. The similarity to mid-90s continues to support much lower gold prices in the following months. All in all, it seems that what we see right now is the beginning of the final stage of the prolonged decline in the precious metals sector that started in 2011. On a short-term basis, it seems that we might get some temporary strength once gold moves to about $1,330 - perhaps within the next several weeks.
Today's article is a small sample of what our subscribers enjoy regularly. For instance today, we've covered the implications of gold stocks' strength on Friday. The answer also features the miners-to-gold and the gold-to-silver ratios - they both highlight the case for the upcoming gold move. To keep informed of both the market changes and our trading position changes exactly when they happen, we invite you to subscribe to our Gold & Silver Trading Alerts today.
Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
Editor-in-chief, Gold & Silver Fund Manager
Sunshine Profits - Effective Investments through Diligence and Care