Gold shifts to higher ground, real rate of return goes negative on U.S. government paper

Gold shifted to higher ground this morning after the government released its latest consumer price report which showed inflation pushing the 3% mark – a rate that puts the real rate of return on government paper in negative territory, even the 30-year bond. Such stirrings are the sort of thing that can motivate a shift in investor perceptions – with commodities and gold being among the usual beneficiaries in a negative return environment. Today’s inflation number might mark something of a turning point in that regard, particularly when you take into consideration that sentiment favors rising inflation as a probable outcome of the trade war. As it stands, gold is up $4 on the day at $1247 and silver is up 12¢ at $15.94.

Quote of the Day
“Reality is far more vicious than Russian roulette. First, it delivers the fatal bullet rather infrequently, like a revolver that would have hundreds, even thousands of chambers instead of six. After a few dozen tries, one forgets about the existence of a bullet, under a numbing false sense of security. Second, unlike a well-defined precise game like Russian roulette, where the risks are visible to anyone capable of multiplying and dividing by six, one does not observe the barrel of reality. One is capable of unwittingly playing Russian roulette – and calling it by some alternative ‘low risk’ game.” ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

Chart of the Day

Chart note: Few correlations in the financial markets ring truer and more consistently than the one between the federal debt and gold. That relationship between the two is about as fundamental as it gets. For those with capital preservation as the goal, gold has been a stalwart and productive ally since the United States went off the gold standard in 1971 and launched the era of fiat money, federal deficits and the massive federal debt. As for the future, we should keep in mind that the very same conditions which created the long-term secular trend for both the national debt and gold are still in place today – nothing has changed fundamentally. As long as that is the case, we can assume gold will continue to attract capital as a long-term portfolio hedge just as it has, to varying degrees, through the first 47 years of the fiat money system. Please note, too, that gold is trading below the federal debt’s trend line, an indication that it might have some catching up to do in the months and years ahead.

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