RSBL Gold Silver Bars/Coins

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Gold Still Remains An Investors Favourite

It was like a sabbatical for me as I write after a fortnight. There was too much volatility in the markets where prices were just swinging. Varied reasons being responsible, I actually wanted to take time out, analyse the global scenarios and then put across my inputs on gold’s behaviour.

Last week we saw unprecedented government action to get on top of the developing COVID-19 situation in Australia to avoid what we have seen in other countries. Not surprisingly, the combination of continuing falls in financial markets across all asset classes, societal restrictions and talk of further controls had investors running to safety.

Globally we witnessed acceleration in volumes and this has been the case across the whole physical bullion industry talking to our many contacts.

What has confused many is that they can see the massive demand for physical gold and silver while at the same time the price of the metals has fallen – at least in US dollars. The volatility in the spot price reflects a battle between the physical market and paper desk traders and trend following algorithms.

Last week there were a lot of articles that were similar to those back in the global financial crisis – stories about shortages and that the physical market and the paper market are, or have, disconnected.

The driver behind those stories has been the reality of physical products selling out and going on back order along with increases in premiums. This has been particularly the case in America, which has this week only really woken up to the threat of COVID-19 - resulting in increased demand for physical gold and silver.

The stand-out country at the moment is the USA which is paying a terrible price for the apparent downplaying of the virus in its early stages by President Trump, who as recently as February 28th referred to the virus incidence in the U.S. as a hoax, and saying the virus would miraculously go away.  No doubt many Trump believers thus treated any dire warnings of the pandemic as hugely overblown.  Now we are in a situation where the U.S. is the third most affected country in the world and if the virus spread continues at its current rate could even overtake China as the world’s most affected nation within a month.

The entire world is now aware or rather panic about the deadly virus. This panic is creating significant movement in the precious metals market.

Precious metals have seen price falls along with the equities markets, but in the case of gold not nearly to the same extent.  It keeps on being taken down below the $1,500 psychological level, but so far has invariably bounced back  Year to date the yellow metal is down around 1% while U.S. equities for example are down around 35% over the same period.  But this price fall is in U.S. dollars.  In most other countries, due to dollar strength, gold is close to all-time highs in domestic currencies and is thus serving extremely well as a wealth protector in these nations – indeed in most of the world.

Like most asset classes, gold is being affected by the unprecedented economic and financial market conditions in play around the globe. We believe that recent volatility in the gold price has been driven by massive liquidations across all assets, and likely magnified by leveraged positions and rule-based trading.

Gold has also likely been used to raise cash to cover losses in other asset classes because:

it remains one of the best performing asset classes year-to-date, despite recent fluctuations
it is a high quality and highly liquid asset, trading over US$260 billion (bn) per day in March

Looking ahead, we believe the deceleration in economic growth will undoubtedly impact gold consumer demand and gold’s volatility may remain high, but high risk levels combined with widespread negative real rates and quantitative easing will be supportive of gold investment demand as a safe haven.

But what we need to really know is that Why did the gold price drop alongside stocks?

The answer is linked to several factors. The most prominent of these is the massive liquidation virtually all asset classes experienced in the past week. And gold was no exception.

Even longer-term US treasuries prices fell, despite a second unscheduled cut by the Fed on 15 March slashing the Fed funds rate to pre-2016 levels. The 10-year US treasury yield is trading above 1% after reaching a historical low of 0.33% on 9 March.

As a high quality, liquid asset gold may also have been used to raise cash.

It may take a while for financial markets to stabilise. Amidst high volatility, the gold price may experience additional swings, but the long-term implications of an environment combining high risk and lower opportunity cost should support gold investment demand.

We also expect central banks to remain net gold buyers overall, albeit likely not at the same rate as in the past two years.

Bullion is set for back-to-back weekly losses for the first time since September after the dollar hit a record, although its drop was pared Friday as investors took stock of the outlook for the global economy, the spread of the disease, and looser monetary policy. With deep losses in risk assets this month, some investors have been forced to sell gold to raise cash. A similar pattern -- losses at times of extreme market stress -- was seen in bullion at the onset of the global financial crisis in late 2008, before it went on to peak in 2011.

These major crashes show that Gold and silver eventually respond to the crisis of the time and prices ultimately soar.

You’ll notice this occurred during periods of both inflation and deflation. While they both tend to do better in inflation, they ultimately rose in response to crisis.

This of course is what we have on our hands now. History says that despite the current selloff in gold and silver, the crisis will draw in more and more investors and as a result, eventually impact their prices in a major way.

Prithviraj Kothari is the author of this article. Find more information about Prithviraj Kothari.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Gold Might Come On For Profit Taking

It has been a strong start to 2020 for gold, with the yellow metal rising by 12.99% in AUD terms, and 4.54% in USD terms in the first two months of the year, despite the sharp correction in precious metal prices last Friday.

Onto these wild market swings and uncertainty, gold once again provided a safe haven against emerging turmoil. The biggest weekly gain since 2009 took it to levels not seen for seven years, leaving both silver and platinum trailing in the process.

The coronavirus outbreak has worsened to now more than 95,000 infected worldwide and has spread globally. The threat of the coronavirus on global economic growth has now impacted all asset classes, global trade, liquidity and central bank policies.

It was in mid-February when the severity of the economic impact of the coronavirus began to be reflected by major companies, such as Apple when it provided earnings warnings. For several weeks major parts of China were locked down (closing businesses) to contain the outbreak. The impact was a reminder of how important China is in the global supply chain and its impact on global growth. Yields fell, yield curves flattened and inverted inflation expectations rolled over and commodity prices collapsed.

The negative economic impact of the coronavirus that for weeks has been signalled through weakness, finally spread like a wildfire to the rest of the market. The week kicked off with an emergency 50bp rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, a move that only strengthened the sense of panic in the market. Within a few days, global sovereign bond yields had collapsed to a record low, gold and stock market volatility spiked while the dollar came under some significant selling pressure as longs were exited.

On March 3, the U.S. Federal Reserve (the "Fed") made a surprise emergency cut in interest rates taking the Fed Funds rates down 50 basis points to a range of 1.00%-1.25%. The rate cut made an immediate, positive impact on gold bullion and gold equities.

The emergency rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Monday, is, according to market expectations, likely to be followed by another 50 bp cut at the regular FOMC meeting on March 18. So far, the low point stands at 0.20% which could be reached before the November U.S. elections.

A perfect storm of supporting factors drove gold’s rally and outperformance. Safe haven demand aside, it was the collapse in U.S. 10-year real yields to -0.60%, a seven-year low, sudden dollar weakness - as yield spreads to other currencies collapsed - and continued stock market weakness.

There is a clear rush to safe haven assets at the moment and gold is a major beneficiary of this situation. Monday trading saw another blood bath emerge on global stock markets.

Where the world is just trying to accept the impact this virus has created all over, another shock to the global markets was the breakdown of relations across the OPEC+ group.

As if corona virus panic was not enough, this was an add-on to rock investor confidence world over. Fears that waves of oil from Saudi and Russian wells are about to hit the market- has provided a sucker punch to market sentiment.

The ultimate safe haven asset in these troubled times is clearly gold. Its sentimental qualities are eternal, while the hard currency’s role as a hedge against inflation makes is a particularly attractive asset to buy today, Central banks have already been loosening monetary policy like crazy to support global growth over the past year. More stimuli is coming down the line following the Fed’s interest cuts of last week to offset the impact of the coronavirus, too.

That is why if you get a dip in gold prices, add to it. Dedicating your entire portfolio to one particular asset is not a wise decision. In fact, I, would rather advise investors to allot around 10-15% of their portfolio in gold so that it becomes a hedge tool.

It’s a different world altogether now. There is collateral damage on most risk portfolios and the lone survivor of gains is fold which is nearly up 12 % on global futures and 17% on local futures markets. So gold will keep on coming for massive profit taking if funding losses of other assets is needed.

Prithviraj Kothari is the author of this article. Find more information about Prithviraj Kothari.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Emergency Rate Cut Pushes Gold Prices Higher

After getting caught up in last week’s punishing virus-driven sell-off, gold is seeking to refresh its haven credentials. The metal advanced after a weekend of negative developments, including a surge in virus cases around the world. With rising expectations that central banks will now act, Friday’s big slump in gold was put down to investors’ forced selling to cover losses elsewhere.

Bullion is always considered the safest mode of investment during crisis. Given that, investors tend to sell gold, as prices rise, during extreme turmoil, in order to cover-up losses incurred elsewhere. Similar pattern was seen last week where gold was sold off heavily, a situation that was last seen significantly during the 2008 financial crisis.

Gold prices plunged over 4.5% on Friday, with precious metals joining a broader market selloff as investors liquidated positions to meet margin calls in other assets.

Investors were cashing out to cover losses and meet margin calls in other markets. This does not mean that investor attitude towards gold has changed or that investors have started losing faith in the yellow metal. Gold is still perceived as a safe haven asset and shall continue to do so.

And we did not have to wait too long to prove it. After witnessing a drop in prices on Friday, gold bounced back on Monday, as it rose 1 percent.

Even equities had rallied initially  as the Bank of Japan followed the US Federal Reserve in vowing to take action to stem the impact of the novel coronavirus, with Tokyo launching a new raft of bond purchases and continuing to buy stock-market ETF funds.

Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank would take steps to steady markets, and bolster liquidity through short-term lending operations and asset purchases. On Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell issued a rare, unscheduled statement, emphasizing the central bank’s intention to act appropriately to address the risks posed by the coronavirus.

A second death from the virus in the U.S., has raised fears of a wider spread of the disease domestically and investors are starting to believe that the Fed and other central banks will act to tamp down expected economic shocks from COVID-19, the infectious disease that originated in Wuhan, China late last year and has rapidly spread across the globe.

The global death toll from the illness stands at more than 3,000, and deaths in China stand at 2,900, according to recent reports.

The coronavirus outbreak continued to take its toll on activity as China reported more than 78,800 infections with almost 2,800 deaths so far. Concerns about the global economy mounted as the virus spread in other countries.

 Gold rose more than 1% on Monday, rebounding from a steep decline across precious metals, amid investor hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to cushion the impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Expectations for a Fed interest rate cut at the March 18 meeting are rising “and gold’s appeal as a safe haven is still strong” as the likelihood of “further coronavirus problems and upcoming political headlines in the U.S., Israel, South America, Greece, euro zone and Middle East worries are still intact.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that while the U.S. economy remained strong, the coronavirus “posed an evolving risk” and the central bank stood ready to take action if needed.

Following Fed chairman Jerome Powell's statement that the US central bank will "act as appropriate" as the virus poses "evolving risks" to the economy, markets were expecting a certain rate cut when the policy committee would meet on March 17-18

But what happened on Tuesday took the markets by a sudden shock.

Gold prices rose on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut Tuesday of half a percentage point in response to the growing economic threat from the novel coronavirus.

Spot gold was up 3.3% at $1,643.85 an ounce, having gained more than 1% in the previous session. U.S. gold futures firmed 3.1% to $1,644.10.

The move was the first such cut since the financial crisis. It comes amid a volatile patch on Wall Street and amid a steady stream of pressure from President Donald Trump, who has called for lower rates to stay competitive with policy at other global central banks.

Expectations of rate cuts by the Fed and negative yields in the euro zone, Switzerland and Japan have supported gold prices. Not from a safe haven point of view, but because at least gold does not charge a penalty (which negative-yielding currencies do). So, gold rallied with stocks because at the time it was a risk-on investment.

Prithviraj Kothari is the author of this article. Find more information about Prithviraj Kothari.