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Gold, Interest Rates and Super Cycles


When the Fed raised interest rates last December, many believed gold would plunge. But it didn't happen.

Gold bottomed the day after the rate hike, but then started moving higher again. Incidentally, the same thing happened after the Fed tightened in December 2015. Gold had one of its best quarters in 20 years in the first quarter of 2016. So it was very interesting to see gold going up despite headwinds from the Fed. Meanwhile, gold has more than held its own this year. 

Normally when rates go up, the dollar strengthens and gold weakens. They usually move in opposite directions. So how could gold have gone up when the Fed was tightening and the dollar was strong?

That tells me that there's more to the story, that there's more going on behind the scenes that's been driving the gold price higher.

It means you can't just look at the dollar. The dollar's an important driver of the gold price, no doubt. But so are basic fundamentals like supply and demand in the physical gold market.

I travel constantly, and I was in Shanghai meeting with the largest gold dealers in China. I was also in Switzerland not too long ago, meeting with gold refiners and gold dealers.

I've heard the same stories from Switzerland to Shanghai and everywhere in between, that there are physical gold shortages popping up, and that refiners are having trouble sourcing gold. Refiners have waiting lists of buyers, and they can't find the gold they need to maintain their refining operations.

And new gold discoveries are few and far between, so demand is outstripping supply. That's why some of the opportunities we've uncovered in gold miners are so attractive right now. One good find can make investors fortunes.

My point is that physical shortages have become an issue. That is an important driver of gold prices.

There's another reason to believe that gold could be in a long-term trend right now.

To understand why, let's first look at the long decline in gold prices from 2011 to 2015. The best explanation I've heard came from legendary commodities investor Jim Rogers. He personally believes that gold will end up in the $10,000 per ounce range, which I have also predicted. But Rogers makes the point that no commodity ever goes from a secular bottom to top without a 50% retracement along the way.

This means the 50% retracement is behind us and gold is set for new all-time highs in the years ahead.

Gold bottomed at $255 per ounce in August 1999. From there, it turned decisively higher and rose 650% until it peaked near $1,900 in September 2011.

So gold rose $1,643 per ounce from August 1999 to September 2011.

A 50% retracement of that rally would take $821 per ounce off the price, putting gold at $1,077 when the retracement finished. That's almost exactly where gold ended up on Nov. 27, 2015 ($1,058 per ounce).

This means the 50% retracement is behind us and gold is set for new all-time highs in the years ahead.

Why should investors believe gold won't just get slammed again?

The answer is that there's an important distinction between the 2011–15 price action and what's going on now.

The four-year decline exhibited a pattern called "lower highs and lower lows." While gold rallied and fell back, each peak was lower than the one before and each valley was lower than the one before also.

Since December 2016, it appears that this bear market pattern has reversed. We now see "higher highs and higher lows" as part of an overall uptrend.

The Feb. 24, 2017, high of $1,256 per ounce was higher than the prior Jan. 23, 2017, high of $1,217 per ounce.

The May 10 low of $1,218 per ounce was higher than the prior March 14 low of $1,198 per ounce.

The Sept. 7 high of $1,353 was higher than the June 6 high of $1,296. And the Oct. 5 low of $1,271 was higher than the July 7 low of $1,212.

Of course, this new trend is less than a year old and is not deterministic. Still, it is an encouraging sign when considered alongside other bullish factors for gold.

But more importantly, gold has held its own despite higher interest rates and threats of more.

That tells me we're seeing a flight to quality, meaning people are losing confidence in central banks all over the world. They realize the banks are out of bullets. They've been printing money for eight years and keeping rates close to zero or negative. But it still hasn't worked to stimulate the economy the way they want.

So gold has been moving up in what I would consider a challenging environment of higher rates. 

The question is, where does gold go from here?

The market is currently giving close to 100% odds that the Fed will raise rates next month.

I disagree. I'm skeptical of that because of the weak inflation data. There will be one more PCE core data release before the Dec. 13 meeting. That release is due out on Nov. 30.

If the number is hot, say, 1.6% or higher, that will validate Yellen's view that the inflation weakness was "transitory" and will justify the Fed in raising rates in December.

On the other hand, if that number is weak, say, 1.3% or less, there's a good chance the Fed will not raise rates in December. In that case, investors should expect a swift and violent reversal of recent trends.

Markets have priced a strong dollar and weaker gold and bond prices based on the expectation of a rate hike in December. If that rate hike doesn't happen because of weak inflation data, look for sharp rallies in bonds and gold.

Now, the last time gold sold off dramatically was on election night, when Stan Druckenmiller, a famous gold investor, sold all his gold. It's only natural that when someone dumps the amount of gold he deals in, the price will go down.

That move reflected a change in sentiment.

What Stan said at the time was very interesting. He said, "All the reasons that I own gold in the first place have gone away because Trump was elected president."

In other words, he was buying into the story that Hillary Clinton would be bad for the economy but Donald Trump's policies would be beneficial. If we were going to have strong economic growth with a Trump presidency, maybe you didn't need gold for protection. So he sold his gold and bought stocks on the assumption that the economy would grow under Trump.

But earlier this year, Stan has said he's buying gold again. What that means is that people are finally reconsidering the reflation trade. Tax reform is still a big question mark. And when's the last time you heard a word about infrastructure spending?

Investors will once again flock into gold once reality sets in. Mix in rising geopolitical tensions in Asia and the Middle East, and gold's future looks bright. 


Jim Rickards
for The Daily Reckoning

Now, let's talk about Silver...

James Turk – Central Planners About To Have A Moment Of Crisis In The Gold & Silver Markets

Today James Turk answered the question everyone is focused on in the gold and silver universe and he also warned that central planners are about to have a moment of crisis in the gold and silver markets.

War In The Gold & Silver Markets Heats Up
(KWN – James Turk: "When we spoke a few weeks ago, Eric, gold was $1,278 and silver was $17.06. Today gold and silver closed in New York at $1,279 and $17.07. Although their prices haven't changed much from where they were a few weeks ago, there is a lot going on beneath the surface. We are seeing the market forcing the hand of central planners, rather than the other way around. This is good news for gold and silver…

Both gold and silver have done a lot of base building, and the breakout from their bases is getting close. Last time we spoke I wasn't ready to hazard a guess when the breakout would happen because there is no way to predict when a base will end with a breakout. And there still isn't. But look at the following chart showing the daily spot silver price in London.

Even though both gold and silver are positioned pretty much the same, I want to use this silver chart because its picture is much clearer. Also, even though both metals are trading backwardated in London, the backwardation is much deeper in silver, so it has greater upside potential when the breakout occurs. Meaning, the gold/silver ratio will fall as silver outperforms gold.

The point here, Eric, is that silver looks very close to a breakout and ready to start climbing higher. The chart above also shows the head-and-shoulders pattern that we have previously spoken about (highlighted in green rectangles). The three downtrend lines show how silver keeps getting beaten back in its attempts to break higher, which it is once again trying to do as it moves day-by-day toward the point of the large triangle.

Bullion Banks Desperate To Trigger Sell Stops
Note the red box on the chart. That is what the central planners have been targeting in terms of the artificial manipulation to the downside. It's their sweet spot. The reason for this is because there are a mountain of sell stops located at that level. So they have been trying to push silver lower for weeks in an attempt to reach that target area in order to create that wave of selling by triggering the sell stops. It's a game that they have been playing for years.

Triggering those sell stops will give the syndicate of bullion banks, who act as agents for the Fed and other Western central banks, an opportunity to cover many of their short positions in the silver market. Thus, they have been selling loads of paper silver in a desperate attempt to thwart the tidal wave of buying coming into the Comex. And it is a tidal wave.

Also of importance is the fact that the EFPs have ballooned in recent days, particularly for gold. Flat gold and silver prices in the face of soaring Open Interest would be a blatant sign of price manipulation. So the central planners are frantically shifting their shorts to the London OTC market in an attempt to keep Comex open interest from soaring, but all of their selling has been to little avail. Despite numerous attempts to crack silver, they have failed. The same is true for gold.

The central planners even got the mainstream media working for them. For example, a few days ago Bloomberg reported: "Mysterious Gold Trades of 4 Million Ounces Spur Price Plunge." Obviously the word "plunge" was meant to scare, but hidden in the article was the actual result of this huge sale. To quote the article, there was "a sell-off, sending prices down as much as 1.1 percent." (Laughter).

A Moment Of Crisis For Central Planners
Given what the central planners have thrown at gold and silver the last six years, a 1.1% ‘plunge' is not only a welcome relief, it is giving us an important message. The conclusion from this event is that 40,000 Comex contracts trading in a span of 10 minutes did so little damage to the gold price, it is a clear sign that the central planners are up against an immovable force. And we know what that force is — all the national currencies they are printing and debasing from QE and their other schemes is not only going into daVinci's and other tangible assets, it is also going into gold and silver.

So here is what we face, Eric. Will the central planners dare throw another 40,000 contracts at the market to try reaching their sweet spot and risk having to come up with more physical metal for that portion of the buyers asking for delivery? Or are gold and silver finally going to break out of their respective bases and head higher, ending this period of extreme undervaluation? Only time will tell, of course, but instead of more base building or a drop back to the central planners' sweet spot, I expect an upside breakout soon, and the tightness in the physical market suggests it may be just days away."

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