The Daily Market Report: Gold Falls to 4-Month Lows On Heightened Risk Appetite

USAGOLD/Peter Grant/12-07-17

Gold remains under pressure after dropping through the low end of the range in overseas trading. The yellow metal is being weighed by elevated risk appetite and a firmer dollar.

The market is optimistic that some deal will be struck this week to avert a government shutdown. While House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared that Democrats would not support today’s stopgap spending bill, GOP leaders say they have the votes to kick the can for two more weeks.

If a partial government shutdown is temporarily averted, there will be a full-court press by the GOP to reconcile the House and Senate tax bills and get something to the President’s desk by Christmas. While there is some concern about the increase in deficits surrounding tax reform, the market seems to be focused solely on wider profit margins for corporations.

The market is also expecting a decent NFP print tomorrow (+198k median), which will further reinforce expectations for a 25 bps rate hike next week. While inflation and wage growth continues to disappoint — and these were the primary concerns that prompted the September pause — the Fed may ‘bet on the come’ regarding tax cuts, hoping they provide some level of long-awaited fiscal stimulus.

It is worth remembering that gold has rebounded smartly after the previous two December rate hikes. What’s different this year is that gold has been relatively buoyant ahead of the December policy decision, as compared to previous years.

Weakness in the broader commodities complex, attributed to concern about slowing growth in China, may also be playing a role in the recent pressure on gold. Pretty much every commodity fund/index/ETF has a gold component and when these are sold, gold is sold as well.

However, softer commodities portend broader economic weakness and the likelihood that below target inflation will persist. This could end up warranting more dovish central bank policies that one might associate with weaker currencies and a higher gold price.

Offering an underpinning to the gold market are heightened geopolitical tensions. North Korea has said that war is inevitable. Meanwhile, the Trump administrations decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has sparked heightened unrest in the middle east.

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