Gold prices have suffered their sharpest fall in 30 years over the last couple of days, heightening fears among investors that the decade-long bull run for precious metals, especially gold, is about to end. The dramatic development started on 12th of April with 15thof April as the ugly black Monday for gold lovers. Gold has traded steadily between 1550 and 1615 during the first months of 2013, and then suddenly plunged USD 200. Shocked investors took a deep breath after losing confidence in the metal for which many thought that the sky was the limit.
The volatility of market sentiments was demonstrated early Monday morning as investors debarred gold from its safe haven status in just a few short hours. As a result of the lost confidence in gold, the Japanese Yen (JPY), which had been suffering for the last few months due to aggressive Japanese economic stimulus and monetary easing, briefly regained its position as a safe haven candidate.
The safe haven rally was short lived; USD/JPY jumped from a low 96 to above 98 yen to a dollar in just a few hours. Following a technical upward correction after the steep fall, markets continued to be extremely nervous, showing some similarities with market behavior in 2008 prior to the financial crisis that autumn. After a short rebound the selling pressure on gold continues.
Close market followers could have noticed signals that investors were becoming increasingly skeptical about gold. For many years, it has been taken more or less for granted that gold is going to continue to rise and shine. However, if we look back at the gold graph of the last couple of years, we can see that there have been some worrying signals. Gold prices peaked and reached USD 1406 in early January 2011. There was a technical correction down, but between February and September gold prices rose steadily to USD 1920. A breakthrough of the magic psychological 2000 level seemed to be within reach and many investors betted on that opportunity.
Instead, gold started to correct down steadily and moved sidelong before reaching an autumn peak at 1787 on October 1, 2012. It has been falling down since October with minor upwards technical corrections until it reached 1321 and rebounded to 1382. With the existing strong selling pressure and weak market sentiments there is no reason to believe that USD 1350 represents a bottom.
In addition to the charts, which show a steadily falling curve since September 2011, there have been other reasons for concern. Major international banks have recommended selling gold. There might be numerous reasons why Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Societe General are all in favor of liquidating gold reserves.
The erratic and speculative way international banks have operated over the last few years, from manipulation with labor to excessive greed, demonstrated in both trading and investments, makes one ask, whether their recommendations are a new expression of speculative behavior to their own best benefit? Are gold sales boosted up, so certain market players can buy the precious metal back at strongly reduced prices?
When George Soros recommends selling as he did a few weeks ago, when gold prices were USD 1615, there is a stronger reason for an alert.In spite of the fact that Soros operates on behalf of his own institutions, he was first and foremost considered to be an individual investor. Since the 1960’s it is a good idea for the markets to listen to his predictions and advices. Two years ago, Soros recommended to sell silver for USD 45, after its steady climb from USD 17 a troy oz. Silver peaked at 49,67 and has been continuously falling since, reaching a low of 22,65 on Monday, April 15th, 2013.
Where does gold go from here?
In a short-term perspective, the technical upside correction already seems to have subsided. Gold simply seems to have no steam to lift the precious metal beyond the USD 1400 limit. There is no inflationary pressure to strengthen gold. Ever record-high US stocks have seen gold selling in favor of investments in stock markets, which as long as the monetary easing continues will be a far more interesting investment than placing money in the risky precious metal with market sentiments against it.
The opportunity for central banks selling their gold reserves to finance own assets requests from international lenders as the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added to the selling pressure on gold. This development was spurred by tiny Cyprus, but the idea was picked up by central banks in countries like Italy and Spain that are also under big pressure.
There are, however, more optimistic outlooks pointing to a strong gold recovery at the end of 2013, even if most analysts seem to agree that it may take time before investors‘ confidence returns to the precious metals market. Gold is on the verge of being oversold. An oversold market shall create a tighter supply/demand fundamentals relation.
Even if stock markets continue to raise, these rallies are artificial and are more based on monetary easing than on economic fundamentals. What is going to happen when the bubble bursts? Could gold then be back shining, considering that some central banks in emerging countries are buying gold to strengthen their reserves?
There might be light in the tunnel for gold prices in the medium and long-term perspective.
Having different opinion on future prices for Gold? At MAYZUS you can test your judgments, read more here.
About the Author:
Arne Treholt, Vice President, Business Development Director at MAYZUS Investment Company
Mr. Treholt began his career as a journalist and foreign correspondent of the Oslo-based daily newspaper Arbeiderbladet in Norway. He then joined the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was promoted to the position of Political Secretary to the Minister of Shipping and Foreign Trade, followed by his position as Deputy Minister of Law of the Sea. He held the position of Counselor for Economic Development and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was member of the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations, New York. Mr. Treholt retired from his diplomatic career and moved to Moscow, where he became CEO of ISMOS Trading, followed by his position of CEO of Rim Investment Management and FMC Securities in Cyprus. Mr. Treholt joined Mayzus Investment Company in June 2009 as Vice President, and he is also in charge of the business development and portfolio asset management of the company. He is the author of five books and numerous articles on economics and politics.
Not company earnings, not data but vaccines now steering investor sentiment
By Marc Jones and Dhara Ranasinghe
LONDON (Reuters) – Forget economic data releases and corporate trading statements — vaccine rollout progress is what fund managers and analysts are watching to gauge which markets may recover quickest from the COVID-19 devastation and to guide their investment decisions.
Consensus is for world economic growth to rebound this year above 5%, while Refinitiv I/B/E/S forecasts that 2021 earnings will expand 38% and 21% in Europe and the United States respectively.
Yet those projections and investment themes hinge almost entirely on how quickly inoculation campaigns progress; new COVID-19 strains and fresh lockdown extensions make official data releases and company profit-loss statements hopelessly out of date for anyone who uses them to guide investment decisions.
“The vaccine race remains the major wild card here. It will shape the outlook and perceptions of global growth leadership in 2021,” said Mark McCormick, head of currency strategy at TD Securities.
“While vaccines could reinforce a more synchronized recovery in the second half (2021), the early numbers reinforce the shifting fundamental between the United States, euro zone and others.”
The question is which country will be first to vaccinate 60%-70% of its population — the threshold generally seen as conferring herd immunity, where factories, bars and hotels can safely reopen. Delays could necessitate more stimulus from governments and central banks.
Patchy vaccine progress has forced some to push back initial estimates of when herd immunity could be reached. Deutsche Bank says late autumn is now more realistic than summer, though it expects the northern hemisphere spring to be a turning point, with 20%-25% of people vaccinated and restrictions slowly being lifted.
But race winners are already becoming evident, above all Israel, where a speedy immunisation campaign has brought a torrent of investment into its markets and pushed the shekel to quarter-century highs.
(Graphic: Vaccinations per 100 people by country, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/azgvolalapd/Pasted%20image%201611247476583.png)
SHOT IN THE ARM
Others such as South Africa and Brazil, slower to get off the ground, have been punished by markets.
Britain’s pound meanwhile is at eight-month highs versus the euro which analysts attribute partly to better vaccination prospects; about 5 million people have had their first shot with numbers doubling in the past week.
Shamik Dhar, chief economist at BNY Mellon Investment Management expects double-digit GDP bouncebacks in Britain and the United States but noted sluggish euro zone progress.
“It is harder in the euro zone, the outlook is a bit more cloudy there as it looks like it will take longer to get herd immunity (due to slower vaccine programmes),” he added.
The euro bloc currently lags the likes of Britain and Israel in terms of per capita coverage, leading Germany to extend a hard lockdown until Feb. 14, while France and Netherlands are moving to impose night-time curfews.
Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior European economist at Capital Economics, said the slow vaccine progress and lockdowns had led him to revise down his euro zone 2021 GDP forecasts by a whole percentage point to 4%.
“We assume GDP gets back to pre-pandemic levels around 2022…the general story is that we think the euro zone will recover more slowly than US and UK.”
The United States, which started vaccinating its population last month, is also ahead of most other major economies with its vaccination rollout running at a rate of about 5 per 100.
Deutsche said at current rates 70 million Americans would have been immunised around April, the threshold for protecting the most vulnerable.
Some such as Eric Baurmeister, head of emerging markets fixed income at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, highlight risks to the vaccine trade, noting that markets appear to have more or less priced normality being restored, leaving room for disappointment.
Broadly though the view is that eventually consumers will channel pent-up savings into travel, shopping and entertainment, against a backdrop of abundant stimulus. In the meantime, investors are just trying to capture market moves when lockdowns are eased, said Hans Peterson global head of asset allocation at SEB Investment Management.
“All (market) moves depend now on the lower pace of infections,” Peterson said. “If that reverts, we have to go back to investing in the FAANGS (U.S. tech stocks) for good or for bad.”
(GRAPHIC: Renewed surge in COVID-19 across Europe – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xegvbejqwpq/COVID2101.PNG)
(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe and Marc Jones; Additional reporting by Karin Strohecker; Writing by Sujata Rao; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
BlackRock to add bitcoin as eligible investment to two funds
By David Randall
(Reuters) – BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, is adding bitcoin futures as an eligible investment to two funds, a company filing showed.
The company said it could use bitcoin derivatives for its funds BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities and BlackRock Global Allocation Fund Inc.
The funds will invest only in cash-settled bitcoin futures traded on commodity exchanges registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the company said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
A BlackRock representative declined to comment beyond the filings when contacted by Reuters.
Earlier this month, Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, hit a record high of $40,000, rallying more than 900% from a low in March and having only just breached $20,000 in mid-December.
Bitcoin tumbled 10.6% in midday U.S. trading Thursday.
Other U.S.-based asset managers will likely follow BlackRock’s lead and add exposure to bitcoin in some form to their go-anywhere or macro strategies as the cryptocurrency market becomes more liquid and developed, said Todd Rosenbluth, director of mutual fund research at CFRA.
“It’s easy to see how strong the performance has been of late and look at a historical asset allocation strategy that would have included a slice of crypto and how returns would have been enhanced as a result,” he said. “Large institutional investors are going to be able to tap into the futures market in a way that a retail investor could not do.”
There is currently no U.S.-based exchange-traded fund that owns bitcoin, limiting the ability of most fund managers to own the cryptocurrency in their portfolios.
BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink had said at the Council of Foreign Relations in December that bitcoin is seeing giant moves every day and could possibly evolve into a global market. (https://bit.ly/2XXFHrB)
(Reporting by David Randall; Additional reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Lisa Shumaker)
Bitcoin slumps 10% as pullback from record continues
LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin slumped 10% on Thursday to a 10-day low of $31,977 as the world’s most popular cryptocurrency continued to retreat from the $42,000 record high hit on Jan. 8.
The pullback came amid growing concerns that bitcoin is one of a number of financial bubbles threatening the overall stability of global markets.
Fears that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration could attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies have also weighed, traders said.
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; editing by Tom Wilson)
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