Monthly Archives: November 2017

Morning Snapshot: Gold Remains Firm Near $1300

USAGOLD/Peter Grant/11-28-17

Gold is up slightly in early U.S. trading. The yellow metal is holding up pretty well in the wake of yesterday’s push to 6-week highs, just shy of $1300. A firmer dollar and modest stock market gains are perhaps limiting the upside at this point.

U.S. advance trade gap widened to -$68.3 bln in Oct, outside expectations of -$65.5 bln, vs -64.1 bln in Sep. Home prices continue to rise with the FHFA index gaining 0.3% and the Case-Shiller 20-city index gaining 0.4% in September.

Later this morning we’ll see November consumer confidence and the Richmond Fed index. Fed chair nominee Powell appears before the Senate and we’ll hear FedSpeak from Dudley and Harker.

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U.S. advance trade gap widened to -$68.3 bln in Oct, outside expectations of -$65.5 bln, vs -64.1 bln in Sep.

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Gold better at 1296.27 (+1.43). Silver 17.10 (+0.02). Dollar higher. Euro easier. Stocks called higher. U.S. 10-year 2.32% (-1 bp).

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The Daily Market Report: Gold Jumps To 6-Week High Near $1300


USAGOLD/Peter Grant/11-27-17

Gold is up, having reached a 6-wwek high of 1299.30 in earlier U.S. trading. While gains stalled just shy of $1300, the bias remains to the upside and further challenges of this critical level seem likely.

Gold us being helped by recent weakness in the dollar. The dollar index fell through important support at 92.80 (12-Oct low) to establish fresh 9-week lows. More than 61.8% of the bounce off the September low at 91.13 has now been retraced, making that level a logical target. The DX is now well below the 20-, 50-, 100- and 200-day moving averages, lending credence to the bearish scenario.

Dollar losses gained momentum last week after the FOMC minutes from the November meeting came in more dovish than expected. There also seemed to be heightened concerns about asset valuations.

“In light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, several participants expressed concerns about a potential buildup of financial imbalances. They worried that a sharp reversal in asset prices could have damaging effects on the economy.” — Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, October 31-November 1, 2017

In that respect, the Fed has sort of painted themselves into a corner: The stock market seems to like everything the Fed does these days. Tighter policy and the implications of an improving economy have lifted stocks, while a more dovish Fed (September pause) has also buoyed stock because it means cheap liquidity.

At this point, the market still believes a December rate hike remains baked in the cake. At this point, if the Fed wanted to prick the stock market bubble they would likely have to turn much more hawkish than the market is presently expecting and I think they are disinclined to do so.

With the über-accommodative policy stance over the past decade, the Fed is very much responsible for pushing investors out along the risk curve. Pensions should be of particular concern, because if stocks seriously correct, the already underfunded situation of many public pensions is only going to get worse.

Stocks however will ultimately correct, perhaps as a result of a central bank miss-queue, but more likely due to some external factor outside the control of the central banks. When the next crisis comes, financial writer and publisher John Mauldin believes “central banks and governments will react in ways that are even more unthinkable” than the measures they employed during the financial crisis.

At that time, as the world’s central banks pumped liquidity into the financial system, gold soared to record highs. I suspect the results the next time will be the same.

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Mauldin: The Fed Is At The Height Of Monetary Policy Lunacy


Forbes/John Mauldin/11-27-17

How often do central bankers, regulators, corporate leaders, lawyers, politicians and ordinary investors make the same mistakes over and over again? All the time.

…I can understand raising rates — I wish they had done that four years ago. I can even understand reducing the balance sheet. But at the same time? When you don’t know what you don’t know?

I mean really, there is no way to know how the market is going to react to either of these events, let alone to both at the same time. This seems to me the height of monetary policy lunacy.

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Dallas Fed Index tumbled to 19.4, below expectations of 24.0, vs 27.6 in Oct. Biggest drop in nearly 2-years.

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Gold gains falter ahead of $1300 following new home sales beat lifts dollar.

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U.S. new home sales +6.2% to 685k pace in Oct, above expectations of 620k, vs negative revised 645k in Sep.

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Weaker dollar pushes gold prices higher


Reuters/Peter Hobson/11-27-17

Gold prices rose on Monday, helped by a weaker dollar, as investors looked ahead to congressional testimony by the nominee to chair the U.S. Federal Reserve and a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and
Senate Republicans on tax reform.

“We’ve seen a fairly firm recovery underpinned by a weaker dollar and some data readings from the U.S. and elsewhere that called into question the sustainability of growth,” said Mitsubishi analyst Jon Butler.

U.S. PMI and capital goods data missed expectations last week, helping to drive the dollar to its weakest in two months.

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Morning Snapshot: Gold Sets 5-Week Highs, Buoyed by Weak Dollar

USAGOLD/Peter Grant/11-27-17

Gold is up to start the post holiday week, setting fresh 5-week highs above 1297.10. The yellow metal is getting a lift from continued dollar weakness in the wake of the more dovish than expected Fed minutes from last week.

While some doubts have been raised about the likelihood of a December rate hike, Fed funds futures continue to show a probability in excess of 90%. Later this week we’ll see the Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation for October, which has the potential to temper rate hike expectations if it remains weak.

Today’s economic calendar is light with October new home sales and the November Dallas Fed index. After the close we’ll hear Fedspeak from doves Kashkari and Dudley. Fed chair nominee Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

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Gold higher at 1295.76 (+7.50). Silver 17.14 (+0.10). Dollar lower. Euro higher. Stocks called mixed. U.S. 10-year 2.34% (-1 bp).

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Gold’s 47-year bull market

Gold Eagle/Steve Saville/11-24-2017

“This is why the gold/commodity ratio tends to trend downward when everything seems fine on the surface and rocket upward when it becomes apparent that numerous investing mistakes have been made and that the future will be nowhere near as copacetic as previously assumed. It’s reasonable to expect that the multi-generational upward trend in the gold/commodity ratio that began in the early-1970s will continue for at least as long as the current monetary system remains in place. Why wouldn’t it?”

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Blunt Fed tips gold see-saw higher

LATE REPORT

Gold was up today continuing the mercurial, see-saw performance that has dominated its price action over the past several weeks.  Finishing at $1292, gold was up $11.50 on the day and pretty much ended this shortened week (for all intents and purposes) where it started.  Silver was up 20¢ on the day finishing at $17.15, but down about 14¢ on the shortened week.

The minutes to the most recent Federal Reserve meeting reveal a governing committee genuinely concerned about the price levels in the stock market and the possibility for “a sharp reversal in asset prices [that] could have damaging effects on the economy.” Blunt as it is, that assessment is likely to stick in both peoples’ minds and the financial markets’ repertoire for weeks to come as we move to the end of 2017.  The gold market seems to have taken it as a caution on raising interest rates as well as a warning from on high.

Quote of the Day
“In a goldilocks scenario of low interest rates, abundant liquidity, stable growth and a focus on the ‘good’ Trump, investors continue to push asset prices, volatility and leverage to historical extremes. Yet, a low volatility carry environment with rather extreme positioning is a dangerous combination, which we recently likened to dancing on the rim of a volcano.” – Alain Bokobza, head of global asset allocation, Societe Generale


What is this important chart telling us about future Fed policy?
And what does it mean for the gold market?

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Gold regains 1290.00 ahead of release of FOMC minutes.

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A key recession indicator is getting closer to the danger zone — and the Fed can’t ignore it

BusinessInsider/Pedro Nicolaci da Costa/11-21-17

In the past, including before the Great Recession, an inverted yield curve — where long-term interest rates fall below their short-term counterparts — has been a reliable predictor of recessions. The bond market is not there yet, but a sharp recent flattening of the yield curve has many in the markets watchful and concerned.

The US yield curve is now at its flattest in about 10 years — in other words, since around the time a major credit crunch of was gaining steam. The gap between two-year-note yields and their 10-year counterparts has shrunk to just 0.63 percentage points, the narrowest since November 2007.

…”We believe a pre-condition for the Fed to continue its hiking cycle in 2018 should be higher intermediate and long-term rates,” they wrote in a research note to clients. “Without the latter, we would have doubts on the former.”

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Gold inches up as dollar dips ahead of Fed meeting minutes

Reuters/Vijaykumar Vedala/11-22-17

Gold prices crept up on Wednesday amid a softer dollar, with investors remaining cautious ahead of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting, which could offer hints on the outlook for the central bank’s monetary policy.

…”We are not really sure that this (Fed meeting minutes) will have much of an impact given that the decision to raise rates in December is pretty much a forgone conclusion,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.

“Nevertheless, we suspect that investors will want to see what policymakers are thinking about the rate situation and how aggressive they will be on this front going forward.”

PG View: The market thinks a December rate hike is a foregone conclusion, but does the Fed? What if PCE data out next week reflects continued weakness in inflation? That’s the reason the Fed put the tightening cycle on pause back in September.

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University of Michigan consumer sentiment 98.5 in Nov (final), above expectations of 98.0, vs 97.8 prelim. Down from 100.7 in Oct.

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UK growth forecast cut sharply

BBC/11-21-17

Growth forecasts for the UK economy have been cut sharply following changes to estimates of productivity and business investment.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now expects the economy to grow by 1.5% this year, down from the estimate of 2% it made in March.

Growth, it says, will drop to 1.3% by 2020 and then rise to 1.5% in 2021.

PG View: Sub-2% growth projected through 2021 is going to keep the BoE accommodative for the foreseeable future.

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Morning Snapshot: Gold Firms Within the Range

USAGOLD/Peter Grant/11-22-17

Gold is up in early U.S. trading, lifted by a softer dollar. More than half of Monday’s sharp intraday sell-off has now been retraced, leaving the low end of the recent range well protected.

U.S. initial jobless claims fell 13k to 239k in the week ended 18-Nov, just below expectations of 240k. However, October durable goods orders really missed the mark, tumbling 1.2% on expectations of a rise of 0.5%. Septembers solid gain was trimmed to +2.0%, from +2.2% previously.

Core capital goods orders fell 0.5%. New orders plunged 5.1%. Nondefense aircraft orders -18.6%. Defense aircraft orders -11.3%.

It would seem the boost derived from recent aircraft orders and the hurricanes has come to an end. Look for some downward adjustments to Q4 GDP expectations. Rate hike expectations may get tempered as well, particularly if next week’s PCE data continues to reflect weak inflation.

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U.S. durable goods orders -1.2% in Oct, well below expectations of +0.5%, vs negative revised +2.0% in Sep.

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U.S. initial jobless claims -13k to 239k in the week ended 18-Nov, just below expectations of 240k.

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Gold higher at 1286.08 (+4.77) Silver 17.02 (+0.02). Dollar lower. Euro higher. Stocks called higher. U.S. 10-year 2.36% (+1 bp).

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The Daily Market Report: Gold Firms Intraday, Leaving Low End of Range Protected


USAGOLD/Peter Grant/11-21-17

Gold is up modestly in U.S. trading, buoyed by a softer dollar and seemingly ignoring the sharp rise in stocks. Yesterday;s low at 1273.90 provides an additional intervening barrier ahead of the range lows in gold at 1263.00/1260.10.

FedSpeak from Yellen after the close may provide some insight into the true prospects for a December rate hike. However, the minutes from the November FOMC meeting out tomorrow will likely be more valuable in that regard.

Decent to good U.S. economic data of late, reinforces market expectations that the Fed will indeed boost the Fed funds rate by another 25 bps on December 13. Fed funds futures indicate a 91.5% probability of such a move.

UBS is predicting that the dollar will have a rough 2018, particularly against the euro. This would be a perpetuation of the trend that developed this year, where the greenback fell more than 10% against the single currency.

If the dollar has a rough year, it bodes well for another good year for gold. The yellow metal is up 11.2% YTD and as we mentioned in Friday’s DMR, this is the first time in 4-years that such resiliency has been seen going into year-end.

Gold has sold off into year-end for the past 4-years, premised largely on expectations of Fed tightening (either QE tapering or actual rate hikes). This year — with another rate hike decidedly on the table — gold remains resilient. The yellow metal is a mere 4.7% off the high for the year at 1357.50.

The ECB has been talking out of both sides of its mouth in recent weeks, making rumblings about tapering and then saying it intends to keep its foot on the gas. The fact that it cut monthly asset purchases, but plans to do them for longer is reflective of these mixed signals.

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“Foundation For A Rebound?” – Gold Jumps Above Key Technical Level On Heavy Volume

ZeroHedge/Tyler Durden/11-21-17

The last 3 days have been ‘noisy’ in precious metals markets with gold swinging from the best day in 5 months to the worst day in 4 months and now to another high volume surge, breaking the barbarous relic back [above] its 100-day moving-average…

It seems the 100DMA is a key level with heavy volume being used to push gold futures around it.

UBS asks “Is gold establishing a foundation for a rebound?”

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U.S. existing home sales rose 2.0% to a 5.48M pace in Oct, above expectations of 5.41M, vs negative revised 5.37M in Sep.

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Dollar set for rough 2018 as the euro pushes higher, UBS predicts

CNBC/Holly Ellyatt/11-21-17

The U.S. currency is set to have a disappointing 2018 against the euro despite the Federal Reserve continuing its current cycle of rate hikes into next year, according to currency experts at UBS.

A rise in benchmark rates is usually beneficial for the dollar as more people flock to U.S. assets in anticipation of higher yields. But Swiss investment bank and financial services group UBS believes the euro will out-muscle anything the greenback does next year. So far in 2017, the euro is up nearly 11.5 percent against the dollar.

“What matters for dollar is not the timing of the next hike,” UBS strategists said, but “how far the Fed is likely to tighten over the cycle; and the market already expects a fair amount.”

PG View: If the dollar has a rough year ahead, gold is likely to have a good year on the heels of what has been a pretty decent year in 2017.

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Gold advances, U.S Fed minutes in focus


Reuters/Zandi Shabalala/11-21-17

Gold rebounded on Tuesday as investors anticipated signals on the direction of U.S. monetary policy from the minutes of a November Federal Reserve meeting.

…”The Fed rate hike in December is roughly priced in and unless there are very hawkish minutes, its more that people are looking for direction about future moves,” said Georgette Boelle, a commodity strategist at ABN AMRO.

The minutes are due on Wednesday.

Gold was also profiting from a political crisis in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, boosting bullion’s safe-haven appeal.

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Morning Snapshot: Gold Defensive Back in Lower Half of Range

USAGOLD/Peter Grant/11-21-17

Gold is down this morning, back in the lower half of the range after coming under selling pressure during the U.S. session yesterday. The bottom of the range is well defined at 1263.00/1260.10 and remains protected at this point.

The Chicago Fed national activity index for October came in better than expected. Later this morning we’ll get October existing home sales, which are expected to edge higher to a 5.410M pace.

After the close, Fed chair Yellen will speak at NYU along with former BoE Governor Mervy King. The minutes from the November FOMC meeting will be released tomorrow. The latter will perhaps provide a better window into the Fed’s thinking going into year-end. Is soft inflation still a concern? Is the Fed angling for another rate hike, regardless of the inflation outlook?

Thursday is of course the Thanksgiving holiday. Markets are open on Friday, but trading is historically very thin.

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Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to 0.65 in Oct, above expectations of 0.20, vs positive revised 0.36 in Sep.

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