Kate’s already noted some of the oddities in China’s latest GDP data.
But it’s worth re-emphasising the ongoing contribution of investment to the figures. Read more
The gold market is abuzz with the news that gold forwards (GOFO), otherwise known as the gold lending rate, have returned to negativity this week. It’s significant because the last time this happened was in 2008 (click to enlarge):
Now that the possibility of a sharp slowdown in Chinese growth, or even an outright contraction, is getting some serious airplay, we can expect a ramp up in forecasts about what this will mean.
Here’s one from Barclays commodities analysts, Sudakshina Unnikrishnan and Jian Chang. They note that their China economics colleagues, having gifted us with the awkward ‘Likonomics‘ neologism, are also canvassing the possibility of a big drop in the country’s GDP growth rates. Read more
What’s really responsible for higher US yields? Falling demand from domestic and western investors? Or Chinese and Japanese official flows?
Earlier in June, TIC data sent us a very important message. Abenomics was somehow prompting the repatriation and redistribution of money held in long-term USTs by Japanese investors, as this chart from Nomura shows:
In the last few years China has become the single largest producer of gold.
It is also, by some measures, the second largest global consumer of the precious metal outright.
Given this, some goldbugs are befuddled as to why, despite all this Chinese buying and scenes like this…
….gold prices are still falling like this: Read more
From Ben Traynor’s commentary at BullionVault on Friday:
CME Group, which operates the New York Comex exchange on which gold futures are traded, announced yesterday it is increasing margin requirements on gold trading by 25% to $8800 per 100-ounce contract. The new initial margin requirement will come into effect after close of trading today. “That is definitely affecting gold,” says Joyce Liu, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore. “For those who cannot put out margin calls on time, they will be squeezed out even when they don’t want to get out.”
Worth pondering is how all of this now affects the “cash-for-gold” trade. Read more
Despite all the talk of rampant physical precious metals buying, in dollar terms it’s only getting worse for the “gold HAS INTRINSIC value” brigade.
Another way of looking at it, of course, is that the dollar’s value is being rebased. Read more
FT Alphaville participated in a “Gold Bulls vs Bears” event hosted by the Association of Mining Analysts (AMA) on Wednesday.
The motion being discussed was:
Is gold’s role as a safe haven asset in the global financial system outdated and redundant and if the ubiquitous QE programs have been successful and the global economic upturn is confirmed, the price of gold will continue to struggle?
The gold market has always been partial to “carry trades”. But in the post 2008 world the nature of the carry-trade has changed.
In collateral terms, whereas gold mostly traded on “special” terms before 2008 — because you had to pay to borrow it — meaning it was privy to more of a “stock lending” profile, post 2008 it went fully into “collateral” mode. Read more
The conspiracy channels continue to make a big deal about the backwardation of gold — which is a situation in which gold prices for today are higher than for tomorrow. The thinking is that this must indicate rampant demand for physical gold.
In reality, since gold is a highly financialised commodity, the backwardation signal doesn’t actually indicate the bullishness they imply it does. Rather, it suggests something entirely different: that interest rates in conventional money markets are turning increasingly negative. Read more
There’s been a lot of speculation about what really drove the volatile gold price move this month. Some are still defiantly searching for conspiracies or under-handed activities by authorities.
But it’s probably Nouriel Roubini who has provided one of the best and most logical explanations. In his opinion every bit of the gold move can be explained by shifting inflation expectations. Read more
Following their absolutely stellar advice to short gold on April 10, Goldman Sachs announces on Tuesday it is now time to take profit on that position:
We have closed our recommendation to short COMEX Gold, as prices moved above the stop at $1,400/toz. We have exited the trade significantly below our original target of $1,450/toz, for a potential gain of 10.4%. The move since initiation was surprisingly rapid, likely exacerbated by the break of well-flagged technical support levels. Our bias is to expect further declines in gold prices on the combination of continued ETF outflows as conviction in holding gold continues to wane as well as our economists’ forecast for a reacceleration in US growth later this year.
Here’s an interesting thought. Could the gold sell-off be related to a squeeze on collateral brought on by a series of very different bank crises in Europe, starting with the SNS Reaal nationalisation and Anglo Irish emergency assistance operation and culminating with the Cyprus crisis?
It’s a theory being considered by Jeffrey Snider, chief investment strategist, at Alhambra Investment Partners.
The basic point being, when you haven’t got anything to repo and funding becomes tight, gold is likely to sell-off in anticipation of further banking and asset problems. Read more
Some deep thoughts from Goldman Sachs, by way of Jeffrey Currie and team, on the drivers of the current commodity sell-off (and no, their short gold advice from last week isn’t listed as one of them):
The sharp sell-off in gold was triggered by growing fears that the central bank of Cyprus would sell its gold reserves, potentially reflecting a larger monetization of gold reserves across other European central banks. The decline in prices was exacerbated by the breach of key technical price support level at $1,530/toz and then at the $1,434/toz 200-week moving average, creating the largest one day decline. Spillover from gold and renewed European and EM macroeconomic concerns also created sharp sell-offs in crude oil and base metals, that were mostly front-end driven, crushing spreads (the carry), as longer-dated prices remained remarkably stable.
If the meteoric rise and fall of the cyber crypto currency Bitcoin this month teaches us anything, it’s the degree to which a market can be influenced by internet hysteria, viral marketing and propaganda.
There is no intrinsic value to a Bitcoin. Read more
The biggest ASX fallers on Monday…
… all gold.
(yes, even PanAust)
From Capital Economics on Friday:
At the time of writing (Friday afternoon in the UK), equity and commodity prices and government bond yields are all falling sharply. This appears to be in response to weaker-than-anticipated US data on retail sales and consumer confidence (discussed further below). If so, this is probably an overreaction, as the figures were hardly disastrous. The falls in the prices of riskier assets may also have been exaggerated by week-end position squaring after the Bank of Japan-inspired rally in the previous days.
Nonetheless, most of these moves are consistent with our long-held view that a disappointing global recovery will cause the equity market rally to run out of steam, the prices of industrial commodities to fall further (with Brent crude in particular heading back below $100) and 10-year US Treasury yields to dip to 1.5% or so by year-end. The pick-up in market volatility more generally is something that we had been anticipating too.
Societe Generale’s big (bearish) scorecard on “the end of the gold era” – click to enlarge:
Here follows a thoughtful commentary on the changes going on in gold market from BNY Mellon’s Neil Mellor, including the point that central bank purchases are in many ways helping to stabilise what might otherwise be a much more substantial slump.
Our emphasis throughout… Read more
Almost a year ago the Telegraph’s Thomas Pascoe put out an interesting piece on gold. We’ve decided to reprise it this Friday because we think it offers an interesting and useful perspective on current developments in the gold market:
One of the most popular trading plays of the late 1990s was the carry trade, particularly the gold carry trade. In this a bank would borrow gold from another financial institution for a set period, and pay a token sum relative to the overall value of that gold for the privilege.
Anyone who bought gold in 2008 is probably more than tempted to cash in their profits right about now.
Reflecting the scale of the change in sentiment — and confirming that there was indeed something of a choke level for gold at around the $1,908 mark — is the following chart from Macro Risk Advisors which neatly sums up the degree to which investors have been liquidating gold ETF positions. Read more