gold investment, silver investment

Gold prices after the end of QE

December 22, 2014, 7:00 AM

What are the prospects for the gold prices after the end of QE? In the short-term the U.S. dollar will likely be gaining compared to other main currencies, despite continuation of expansionary monetary policy, depressing the gold price. However, the end of QE3 could mean a market bust, which could translate into higher gold prices. How? We explain this issue in the article and we invite you to read it.

Moreover, in contrast to the Fed, the Bank of Japan announced on October 31, 2014 a new round of QE in Japan. It implies more quantitative and qualitative easing, because the BoJ will purchase not only bonds, but also real estate investment trusts and exchange-traded trust tracking the Japanese stock market. The European central bank also stated that it will start to purchase asset-backed securities to increase its balance sheet to 1 trillion euro by 2016. Therefore, despite still expansionary monetary policy, the U.S. dollar will likely be gaining compared to other main currencies, depressing the gold price (in terms of the USD).

However, the end of QE3 could mean a market bust. Most likely not today, nor tomorrow. The effects of changes in monetary policy come with a significant delay. Perhaps, the money supply is not yet decelerating at a rate comparable to the rates we saw in the latter stages of the previous two boom-bust cycles, but today’s economy is much more fragile than earlier. Every confidence-shaking event can unsettle markets. Remember how the markets reacted when Bernanke suggested tapering? The same panic attack was observed in October, because of the expected halt of QE3. The correction was on the way, but then James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said that the Fed could be back with QE4, if needed. He was supported by Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, who later said that he could easily imagine not raising rates until 2016.

The message is clear: do not take the end of QE too seriously. It is not the permanent abandon of quantitative easing, which may be restored at any time depending on the economic situation. The hike of interest rates is also an open case. Gold is not lost. On the contrary, all the fuss about the future of the Fed’s action can only increase the nervousness in the financial markets, supporting the gold price.

But even if the Fed increases interest rates, the result will not necessarily be negative for the yellow metal. Generally, as we have explained in one of the previous editions of Market Overview, the gold price is inversely related to the real interest rates. Although true, our explanation omitted the impact of the interest rates hike on the asset market. In equilibrium the price of the asset is equal to the present value of the discounted stream of payments.

Therefore, the rise of interest rates will be detrimental to asset prices and, consequently, positive for the gold price. The reason is simple: gold tends to perform relatively well during the busts and relatively poorly during the booms (at least if we take the last 3 years into account). This relationship does not always hold because of the influence of changes in the U.S. dollar value and many secondary issues, but the inverse correlation between gold and U.S. stocks is well established in the case of the last 3 years, so we can expect it to be present in the case of the next medium-term trend. We can justify this negative relationship in the following way: in case of panic in the stock market, investors shift their capital into the ultimate safe haven – gold. Just recall 2011 when U.S. stocks went through a sharp sell-off and the gold price reached its record high.

Graph 1: Gold price (red line, right scale) and SP500 Index (green line, left scale) from 2009 to 2014

Gold price (red line, right scale) and SP500 Index (green line, left scale) from 2009 to 2014

The bottom line is that the end of QE3 is not the abandonment of the quantitative easing concept and expansionary monetary policy with extremely low interest rates. An interest rates hike could be detrimental for the asset markets and accelerate the bursting of the stock bubble. However, the halt of QE3 and all this talk about the normalization of monetary policy could increase Fed’s credibility. Therefore, as data on the U.S. economy looks positive, at least compared to Japan and Europe, the greenback will be gaining, which could easily translate into lower prices of the yellow metal. However, the seeds of the next bust have been already sown, so investors should wait and watch for downside risks, especially the slow global economic growth (look at data on China) and the decelerating pace of money supply expansion in many countries. Both factors have actually busted the oil boom. The stock market may be next, which would increase gold prices.

Would you like to know how gold performs during the busts? We focus on the macroeconomics and business cycles’ implications for the gold market in our monthly Market Overview reports and we invite you to check them out. We also provide Gold & Silver Trading Alerts for traders interested more in the short-term prospects. If you’re not ready to subscribe now, we still encourage you to join our gold newsletter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe in just a few clicks.

Arkadiusz Sieron
Sunshine Profits‘ Market Overview Editor

Did you enjoy the article? Share it with the others!

Aug Market Overview

Gold Market Overview

For a long time, pundits talked excitedly about the rapid, V-shaped recovery. I never shared this view, finding it too optimistic and without basis in reality. Like Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, I hate being right all the time, but it really seems that I was right about this issue. According to the July World Flash report by IHS Markit, we can read that "the new wave of infections has reduced the probability of a V-shaped cycle (...) and increased the risk of a double-dip recession (W-shaped cycle)."

What does it all mean for the gold market? Well, the fragile, W-shaped recovery is, of course, a better scenario for gold than a quick, V-shaped recovery. It means slower economic growth and longer recession, which would force central banks and governments to expand and extend their dovish stance and to provide the economy with additional rounds of stimulus. Music to gold's ears!

Read more in the latest Market Overview report.

menu subelement hover background