Gold breaks $1850 per ounce

10-Year Treasury yields remain soft despite the recent CPI spike. The Fed is weighting purchases more to the long end of the yield curve. Breakout above 1.75% (green line) would signal a fresh advance.

10-Year Treasury Yield

10-Year TIPS yield sits at -0.78%, unaffected by the $369bn in overnight Fed reverse repurchase agreements which remove liquidity but mainly affect short-term interest rates.

10-Year TIPS Yield & Fed RRP

Gold broke through resistance at $1850/ounce. A rising Trend Index indicates medium-term buying pressure. Long tails on the last three daily candles indicate retracement to test the new support level; respect signals a test of $1950/ounce.

Spot Gold

Silver is testing resistance at $28/ounce. Rising Trend Index indicates medium-term buying pressure. Breakout above $28 is likely and would offer a target of $30/ounce in the short/medium-term.

Spot Silver

The Dollar index is testing primary support between 89 and 90. Rising Trend Index (below zero) suggests another test of the descending trendline. Respect is likely and breach of primary support would offer a medium/long-term target of 851.
Dollar Index

From Luke Gromen at FFTT:

When you are an externally-financed twin deficit nation with insufficient external funding (as Druckenmiller pointed out), there are three potential release valves:

  1. Higher unemployment.
  2. Higher interest rates.
  3. Lower currency (inflation.)

With US debt/GDP at 130%, Options #1 and #2 aren’t an option……

Conclusion

We expect long-term Treasury yields to remain low while inflation rises, causing the US Dollar to sink and Gold and Silver to advance.

Our long-term target for Gold of $3,000 per troy ounce2.

Notes

  1. Dollar Index (DXY) target of 85 is calculated as the peak of 93 extended below support at 89.
  2. Gold LT target calculation: base price of $1840/ounce + [TIPS yield of -0.87% – (nominal Treasury yield of 1.64% – real inflation rate of 5.30%)] * $400/ounce = $2956/ounce

Inflation is baked into the cake

Inflation is a hot topic at the moment. For good reason: higher inflation would drive up interest rates, affecting both bond and equity prices, as well as commodities and precious metals.

March CPI jumped to 2.64% but the increase is partly attributable to the low base from March 2020. Core CPI (excluding food and energy) came in at a more modest 1.65%. The main difference between CPI and core CPI is rising energy and food costs.

CPI & Core CPI

The annual inflation rate in the US ……is the highest reading since August of 2018 with main upward pressure coming from energy (13.2% vs 3.7% in February), namely gasoline (22.5% vs 1.6%), electricity (2.5% vs 2.3%) and utility gas service (9.8% vs 6.7%). Prices also accelerated for used cars and trucks (9.4% vs 9.3%), shelter (1.7% vs 1.5%) and new vehicles (1.5% vs 1.2%) while inflation slowed for medical care services (2.7% vs 3%) and food (3.5% vs 3.6%). Cost of apparel continued to fall (-2.5% vs -3.6%)……..a jump in commodities and material costs, coupled with supply constraints, are pushing producer prices up and some companies are passing those costs to clients. (Reuters)

10-year Treasury yields eased to 1.62% with the breakeven inflation rate at 2.33% — weakening the real 10-year yield to -0.71%.

10-Year Treasury Yield & Breakeven Inflation Rate

Inflation and the Money Supply

Milton Friedman famously said, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

CPI & M2 Money Supply

But experience since the 1980s shows several surges in money supply growth without a corresponding rise in inflation. While an increase in money supply may be a prerequisite for a spike in inflation, it is not the cause.

More direct causes of inflation are increases in input costs for suppliers of goods and services. The two largest input costs are commodities and wages. Rises in commodity prices will mostly affect the manufacturing sector, while increases in wage rates impacts on all employers. Also, commodity prices tend to be cyclical, so price fluctuations will be more readily absorbed, while wage increases tend to be permanent and more likely to be passed on to customers.

The chart below shows a much closer correlation between hourly wage rates and CPI since the 1970s, with surges in hourly earnings accompanied by a rise in inflation.

CPI & Hourly Manufacturing Wages

Conclusion

Rising commodity prices are driving higher inflation at present. While some of the pressures may be transitory, due to supply interruptions, underinvestment in new production over the last decade is likely to act as a supply constraint for both energy and base metals. Rising demand fueled by short-term stimulus and longer-term infrastructure investment would act as an accelerant.

Wage rate increases are so far restrained, but that is likely to change as the economy recovers, boosted by decoupling from China and on-shoring of critical supply chains. Shortages of skilled labor are expected to drive up wage rates, maintaining upward pressure on inflation in the longer-term. Training and education of suitable staff will take time.

We have all the ingredients for an inflation spike. A massive boost in the money supply, accompanied by record stimulus payments, much of which has been channeled into savings. This will help to fuel increased demand in the longer term, while restricted supply will drive up commodity prices and wage rates for skilled labor.

Gold versus Bitcoin

Interesting question from Steve:

Bitcoin has broken through $50k, so there is now some USD940 billion in circulation. What would be the impact on the Gold price? It seems to me that many Bitcoin purchasers are buying as an alternative to buying Gold as a store of assets.

Bitcoin may be diverting some investors from gold but we believe this is marginal. Global gold reserves ($9.6T according to Perth Mint) are still 10 times the size of Bitcoin.

If we look at 2018, when Bitcoin fell from $19,000 to $3,200….

Bitcoin

There was little benefit to Gold which also fell for most of the year.

Gold in 2018

Again in 2020, when Gold peaked at the beginning of August….

Gold in 2020/21

Bitcoin remained flat for 3 months before commencing an up-trend in November 2020. And broke $20,000 on Dec 17th, while Gold was rallying.

Bitcoin in 2020/21

Conclusion

The rise in Bitcoin is not the cause of recent weakness in Gold.

We see Bitcoin as speculative and would not hold it as a store of value — any more than Dutch tulips.

Gold has served as a store of value for thousands of years and this is unlikely to change.

Markets that are likely to outperform in 2021

There is no reliable benchmark for assessing performance of different markets (stocks, bonds, precious metals, commodities, etc.) since central banks have flooded financial markets with more than $8 trillion in freshly printed currency since the start of 2020. The chart below from Ed Yardeni shows total assets of the five major central banks (Fed, ECB, BOC, BOE and BOJ) expanded to $27.9T at the end of November 2020, from below $20T at the start of the year.

Central Banks: Total Assets

With no convenient benchmark, the best way to measure performance is using relative strength between two prices/indices.

Measured in Gold (rather than Dollars) the S&P 500 iShares ETF (IVV) has underperformed since mid-2019. Respect of the red descending trendline would confirm further weakness ahead (or outperformance for Gold).

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Gold

But if we take a broad basket of commodities, stocks are still outperforming. Reversal of the current up-trend would signal that he global economy is recovering, with rising demand for commodities as manufacturing output increases. Breach of the latest, sharply rising trendline would warn of a correction to the long-term rising trendline and, most likely, even further.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/DJ-UBS Commodity Index

Commodities

There are pockets of rising prices in commodities but the broader indices remain weak.

Copper shows signs of a recovery. Breakout above -0.5 would signal outperformance relative to Gold.

Copper/Gold

Brent crude shows a similar rally. Breakout above the declining red trendline would suggest outperformance ahead.

Brent Crude/Gold

But the broad basket of commodities measured by the DJ-UBS Commodity Index is still in a down-trend.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index/Gold

Precious Metals

Silver broke out of its downward trend channel relative to Gold. Completion of the recent pullback (at zero) confirms the breakout and signals future outperformance.

Silver/Gold

Stock Markets

Comparing major stock indices, the S&P 500 has outperformed the DJ Stoxx Euro 600 since 2010. Lately the up-trend has accelerated and breach of the latest rising trendline would warn of reversion to at least the long-term trendline. More likely even further.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Euro Stoxx 600

The S&P 500 shows a similar accelerating up-trend relative to the ASX 200. Breach of the latest trendline would similarly signal reversion to the LT trendline and most likely further.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/ASX 200

Reversion is already under way with India’s Nifty 50 (NSX), now outperforming the S&P 500.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Nifty 50

S&P 500 performance relative to the Shanghai Composite plateaued at around +0.4. Breakout would signal further gains but respect of resistance is as likely.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Shanghai Composite

Growth/Value

Looking within the Russell 1000 large caps index, Growth stocks (IWF) have clearly outperformed Value (IWD) since 2006. Breach of the latest, incredibly steep trendline, however, warns of reversion to the mean. We are likely to see Value outperform Growth in 2021.

Russell 1000 Value/Growth

Bonds

The S&P 500 has made strong gains against Treasury bonds since March (iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF [TLT]) but is expected to run into resistance between 1.3 and 1.4. Rising inflation fears, however, may lower bond prices, spurring further outperformance by stocks.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Long_term Bond ETF (TLT)

Currencies

The US Dollar is weakening against a basket of major currencies. Euro breakout above resistance at $1.25 would signal a long-term up-trend.

Euro/Dollar

China’s Yuan has already broken resistance at 14.6 US cents, signaling a long-term up-trend.

Yuan/Dollar

India’s Rupee remains sluggish.

Indian Rupee/Dollar

But the Australian Dollar is surging. The recent correction that respected support at 70 US cents suggests an advance to at least 80 cents.

Australian Dollar/Dollar

Gold, surprisingly, retraced over the last few months despite the weakening US Dollar. But respect of support at $1800/ounce would signal another primary advance.

Spot Gold/Dollar

Conclusion

Silver is expected to outperform Gold.
Gold is expected to outperform stocks.
Value stocks are expected to outperform Growth.
India’s Nifty 50 is expected to outperform other major indices. This is likely to be followed by the Stoxx Euro 600 and ASX 200 but only if they break their latest, sharply rising trendlines. That leaves the S&P 500 and Shanghai Composite filling the minor placings.
Copper and Crude show signs of a recovery but the broad basket of currencies is expected to underperform stocks and precious metals.
The Greenback is expected to weaken against most major currencies, while rising inflation is likely to leave bond investors holding the wooden spoon.

Perth Mint Gold (PMGOLD)

Not to be confused with the ETF (AAAU) listed on NYSE Arca — which went by a similar name — Perth Mint Gold (PMGOLD) is a call option listed on the ASX that entitles the holder to delivery of 1/100th of a troy ounce of fine gold held at the Perth Mint.

Liabilities of Gold Corporation are guaranteed by the West Australian state government under section 22 of the Gold Corporation Act 1987, an Act of the WA Parliament.

Management fees of 0.15% p.a. are paid in physical gold.

Gold holdings of Gold Corporation are unallocated.

Further details regarding fees, custody and delivery are set out in their Product Disclosure Statement.

Goldman Sachs acquires Perth Mint’s physical gold ETF (AAAU)

Published in ETF Strategy on December 14, 2020:

Goldman Sachs has completed its acquisition of the Perth Mint’s physical gold ETF.

Renamed the Goldman Sachs Physical Gold ETF (AAAU), the ETF’s fee is unchanged, at 0.18%, as is its listing on NYSE Arca.

The ETF also continues to provide the same fundamental function – namely physical exposure to gold bars meeting the specifications for “good delivery”, as defined by the London Bullion Market Association.

New custodian

But while the fee, listing venue, and investment objective are all unchanged, the original custodian, the Perth Mint, has been removed and, along with it, the ETF’s unique guarantee from the government of the State of Western Australia.

Also out with the Perth Mint is the ETF’s novel convertibility feature that allowed shareholders of the ETF to exchange their shares for delivery of physical gold in the form of bullion bars and coins issued by the mint.

In its place as custodian is the London branch of JP Morgan Chase – one half of a duopoly of banks (the other half being HSBC) that is home to an increasingly large and arguably alarming concentration (approx. 2,500 tonnes) of ETF-owned gold……

Gold and the Coronavirus

China’s Yuan plunged on scares of a coronavirus epidemic spreading from its Wuhan epicenter.

CNYUSD

The flight to safety took 10-Year US Treasury yields with it. Breach of support at 1.75% warns of another test of primary support at 1.50%.

10-Year Treasury Yields

Flight to safety is also likely to directly strengthen demand for Gold, while lower long-term yields provide a secondary boost by lowering the opportunity cost of holding precious metals. Respect of support at $1540-$1560 would signal another advance.

Gold (USD/ounce)

Silver is weaker but continues to test resistance at $18 to $18.50. Breakout would confirm a bull market for precious metals.

Silver (USD/ounce)

A stronger Dollar, also benefiting from the flight to safety, should only partially offset the rising demand for Gold and Silver.

Dollar Index

Australia

Australia’s All Ordinaries Gold Index continues to test resistance at 7200. Breakout above 7200 would strengthen the bull signal from 13-week Trend Index and Momentum recovering above zero.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Patience

Prospects of retracement to re-test support at 6000 are diminishing. Accumulate on breakout above 7200.

Model Portfolios

Our pick of Australian gold stocks is available to subscribers to the Australian Growth model portfolio. I am not sure how many readers are aware that Market Analysis updates are included as part of any model portfolio subscription.

Gold testing resistance despite Dollar rise

Signing of the US-China phase one trade deal did little to quell demand for Gold, with the precious metal continuing to test resistance at $1560/ounce. But a strengthening Dollar makes another test of primary support at $1450 likely.

Gold (USD/ounce)

Silver is similarly testing resistance at $18 to $18.50, but declining Trend Index peaks below zero warn of stronger selling pressure. Expect another test of support at $16.50.

Silver (USD/ounce)

The Dollar Index rallied off support at 96.50. Breakout above 98 would offer a medium-term target of 99.50.

Dollar Index

China’s Yuan, on the other hand, is strengthening against the Greenback, with rising Trend Index troughs indicating buying pressure. Expect retracement to test support at 14.35 US cents, but the outlook for the Yuan against the Dollar is bullish and respect of support would offer a target of 15 US cents.

CNYUSD

10-Year Treasury yields are ranging between support at 1.70% and resistance at 2.00%. A rising Yuan is bullish for yields and may cause another test of resistance at 2.0%. Breakout would offer a target of 2.50%. But increased use of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as collateral in Fed repo operations may help to suppress long-term yields.

10-Year Treasury Yields

In summary:

  • A rising US Dollar is bearish for Gold.
  • Rising treasury yields increase the opportunity cost of holding precious metals and are bearish for Gold.
  • Geo-political instability (e.g. ongoing US-China/US-Iran tensions) is bullish for Gold.
  • Low oil prices and low inflation are bullish for the Dollar and bearish for Gold.

Nymex Light Crude

Australia

Australia’s All Ordinaries Gold Index is testing resistance at 7200 after a brief retracement to 6800. Breakout from the trend channel is bullish for Gold stocks. Follow-through above 7200 would strengthen the signal.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Patience

Gold is in a long-term up-trend and the current correction may offer an attractive entry point. We have a breakout from the downward trend channel but could still experience a re-test of support at 6000. Proceed with caution.

Gold bearish on imminent phase 1 deal

The U.S. and China are finalizing a bevy of long-running corporate deals ahead of a high-profile ceremony to sign a trade deal next week that the world’s largest economies seek to cast as a major breakthrough and a marked warming in the relationship. Along with a Chinese delegation led by top negotiator Vice Premier Liu He, executives from American and Chinese companies will also attend the White House event to sign the phase-one agreement on Jan. 15, said the people, who asked not be named discussing private plans. (Bloomberg)

Gold retreated on news that signing of the US-China phase 1 deal is imminent. A tall shadow on the weekly chart warns of selling pressure.  Another test of primary support at $1450 is likely.

Gold (USD/ounce)

Silver also retreated, while declining Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Expect another test of support at $16.50.

Silver (USD/ounce)

China’s Yuan broke resistance at 14.35 US cents, while rising Trend Index troughs indicate buying pressure. Expect retracement to test support, but the outlook for the Yuan against the Dollar is turning bullish.

CNYUSD

10-Year Treasury yields found support at 1.70% and a rising Yuan is likely to cause another test of resistance at 2.0%. Breakout would offer a target of 2.50%.

10-Year Treasury Yields

Rising treasury yields increase the opportunity cost of holding precious metals and are bearish for Gold.

Australia

Australia’s All Ordinaries Gold Index penetrated the upper border of its downward trend channel but this week’s tall shadow warns of selling pressure and another test of support at 6000.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Respect of support at 6000, with follow-through above 7000, would signal that a base has formed.

Patience

Gold is in a long-term up-trend and the current correction may offer an attractive entry point. But we first need a clear breakout from the downward trend channel to confirm that the up-trend is intact.

Gold rallies as the Dollar weakens but rising yields may counteract

Gold rallied off support at $1450, testing resistance at $1500/$1520. Lower Trend Index peaks continue to warn of long-term selling pressure and another test of support at $1450 is likely.

Gold (USD/ounce)

Silver is similarly  testing resistance at $18.00/ounce, while declining Trend Index peaks warn of LT selling pressure.  Expect another test of support at $16.50.

Silver (USD/ounce)

China’s Yuan is testing resistance at 14.35 US cents, while rising Trend Index troughs suggest buying pressure. Expect retracement to test support but the LT outlook is more bullish.

CNYUSD

The Dollar Index, which should behave inversely to the Yuan (CNYUSD) above, is headed for a test of primary support at 96. Breach would be a strong bear signal.

Dollar Index

A weakening Dollar is a bull signal for Gold but it is driving up Treasury yields — raising the opportunity cost of holding precious metals — which is likely to offset rising demand.

10-Year Treasury yields are testing resistance at 2.0%. Breakout would offer a target of 2.50%.

10-Year Treasury Yields

Australia

Australia’s All Ordinaries Gold Index is testing the upper border of its downward trend channel. Declining Trend Index peaks have leveled off, suggesting that selling pressure is easing. Expect another test of support at 6000; respect would signal that a base is forming. Breakout from the trend channel would strengthen the signal.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Patience

Gold is in a long-term up-trend and the current correction may offer an attractive entry point. But we first need a clear breakout from the trend channel to confirm that the up-trend is intact.