Gold Market Sentiment Adjusts To Recent Fed Comments

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sentiment as, “an attitude, thought, or judgment prompted by feeling: predilection.: a specific view or notion: opinion.: emotion.: refined feeling: delicate sensibility especially as expressed in a work of art.: emotional idealism.”

As it pertains to the financial markets, market sentiment is the view or attitude that creates our opinion as to whether an asset class is overvalued or undervalued. It shapes and changes the value of a stock or commodity’s price.

Market sentiment is overly sensitive to statements and comments made by Federal Reserve officials because those individuals have the power and influence to change monetary policy.

There is a dramatic difference between the perception of upcoming Federal Reserve monetary policy changes and the actions of Federal Reserve officials.

The Federal Reserve raised rates at every FOMC meeting this year except in January, from March through November, a total of six rate hikes. Over the last four FOMC meetings (June, July, September, and November) they raised rates by 75 basis points.

The aggressive nature of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy moved gold dramatically lower from March up until the beginning of November. Gold traded to its highest value this year of $2078 in March. By the beginning of November, gold prices had dropped to approximately $1621, resulting in a price decline of 21.99%.

During the first week of November, market sentiment shifted because inflation rates had declined fractionally, and investors viewed this fractional drop as a signal that the Federal Reserve would begin to loosen its aggressive monetary policy. This caused gold to rise dramatically from $1621 to an intraday high of $1792 by Tuesday, November 15. Continue reading "Gold Market Sentiment Adjusts To Recent Fed Comments"

Sugar-Coating the Likelihood of a Recession

Does anyone remember when then President Donald Trump told the American population that the Covid-19 lockdowns and spread of the virus that caused the pandemic would all be over by Easter? Or when referring to Covid-19, that it was “the flu”?

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of the virus to not panic the American population. In hindsight, perhaps the early days, especially when the country was in lockdown, it would have been more beneficial to not sugar-coat the virus and the timeline of when the government would lift the lockdown restrictions.

Had President Donald Trump told people the virus would kill hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps we could have stopped the virus from spreading during the lockdowns.

If President Trump hadn’t given a timeline for the lockdowns and the pandemic seeing brighter days, perhaps the government wouldn’t have lost its creditability with so many Americans during the summer of 2020 and its continued response to the pandemic.

Our current situation with the Federal Reserve and its chairman Jerome Powell, is very reminiscent of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Back in the winter and early spring, Powell told us that inflation was “transitory” and wouldn’t last. He even said current inflation wouldn’t need aggressive monetary policy changes to fall. Then, even when Powell began to raise interest rates, he told Americans that there was a high probability of a soft landing, referring to the idea that the Fed could bring down inflation slowly and gently.

Powell continued to tell us this summer that raising interest rates gradually and methodically would lower inflation but not put the economy in a recession.

Fast forward to just a week ago, and Powell tells us that the “chances of a soft landing are likely to diminish.” Inflation has hardly moved even though the Fed has raised interest rates five times, starting in March 2022. At that time, the Fed increased rates by 0.25%, 0.50% in May, then a 0.75% bump in June, July, and September.

Powell also said at the most recent Fed press conference following its announcement of the September rate hike that “we have to get inflation behind us. I wish there were a painless way to do that. There isn’t." Continue reading "Sugar-Coating the Likelihood of a Recession"

September FOMC Meeting - How Might Gold Respond

The Federal Reserve will conclude its September FOMC meeting and release a written statement at 2 PM EDT today. This will be followed by Chairman Powell’s press conference a half-hour later.

It is widely anticipated that the Federal Reserve will raise the “Fed funds rate” by 75 basis points. The CME’s FedWatch tool is forecasting that there is an 84% probability of a 75-basis point hike, and a 16% probability that the Fed will raise rates by a full percentage point.

In the unlikely event that the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark interest rate by 1%, it would most certainly pressure gold to lower pricing.

According to MarketWatch, “economists at the brokerage Nomura Securities … became the first on Wall Street to predict a full-percentage-point increase in the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate.”

Weekly Gold Futures Chart

However, if the Fed raises rates by 75 basis points as expected market participants could see some short-covering activity amid a relief rally. As of 5:05 PM EDT yesterday gold futures basis, the most active December contract is trading five dollars lower and is fixed at $1673.20.

The hard truth is that after four consecutive rate hikes beginning in March inflation remains extremely elevated and persistent. The latest data revealed that the CPI index had a slight decline from July’s 8.5% to 8.3% in August. While the headline CPI had a fractional decline the core CPI which strips out food and energy costs increased 0.6% more than double the prior month’s increase. This means that the core inflation rate climbed to 6.3% from 5.9% in August.

Because the August core inflation rate is three times the 2% target the Federal Reserve wants to achieve members of the Federal Reserve will continue the exceedingly hawkish tone expressed at the Jackson Hole economic symposium. Continue reading "September FOMC Meeting - How Might Gold Respond"

Will Rate Hikes Lead to Recession?

Although trading last week was limited to four trading days due to a holiday weekend gold had a deep and severe price decline.

Gold lost approximately $74 in trading this week opening at approximately $1814 on Tuesday and settling at $1741 Wednesday. Last week’s price decline resulted in gold devaluing by 4%.

The Friday before last, gold opened above and closed below a support trendline that was created from two higher lows. The first low occurs at $1679 the intraday low of the flash crash that occurred in mid-August 2021. The second low used for this trendline occurred in the middle of May when gold bottomed at $1787.

Daily Gold Futures Chart

Gold closed just below that trendline one week ago, however it was Tuesday's exceedingly strong price decline of $50 that accounted for two-thirds of last week’s price decline and resulted in major technical chart damage.

Daily DX Futures Chart

The primary force that moved gold substantially lower last week was dollar strength. The dollar index gained well over 2% last week accounting for over half of the price decline in gold.

Dollar strength was a result of traders and investors focusing on recent and future interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Since March the Federal Reserve has raised rates on three occasions with each rate hike having a higher percentage increase than the last. The Fed raised rates by 25 basis points in March, 50 basis points in May, and 75 basis points in June.

Friday’s jobs report was forecasted to show that 250,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month. The actual numbers came in well above expectations with 327,000 jobs added last month. The unemployment level remained at 3.6%.

The fact that the actual jobs report came in above expectations strengthened the hand of the Federal Reserve to continue to raise interest rates substantially this month.

It is highly anticipated that the Federal Reserve will enact another 75-point rate hike at the July FOMC meeting. Before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in March the fed funds rate was just ¼% or 25 basis points.

Currently, the interest rate set by the Federal Reserve is at 1 ½ % to 1 ¾. This would take the interest level set by the Federal Reserve to 2 ¼% to 2 ½%.

According to the CME’s FedWatch tool, there is a 93% probability that the Federal Reserve will raise rates once again by 75 basis points this month.

However, there are three more times that members of the Federal Reserve will convene for an open market committee meeting which leaves the door open for additional rate hikes. Because the Federal Reserve is data-dependent the number and size of the rate hikes will be based upon whether or not there is a substantial decrease in inflationary pressures.

That being said, it is most likely that this week’s CPI report will not have a dramatic impact on the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise rates as Chairman Powell and other Fed members have stated that the Federal Reserve will aggressively raise rates at the July FOMC meeting.

For those who would like more information simply use this link.

Wishing you, as always good trading,
Gary S. Wagner
The Gold Forecast

Where Do We Go From Here?

As expected, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at last week’s post-Election Day monetary policy meeting, while signaling another 25-basis point increase in the federal funds rate at its December 18-19 get-together.

But the results of last week’s elections, which returned control of the House to the Democrats, may put future rate increases next year in doubt. That bodes well for long-term Treasury bond prices – i.e., yields may have peaked.

As we know, Maxine Waters, D-California, is now the likely next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. To put it mildly, she doesn’t like banks. Her first order of business, no doubt, is to impeach President Trump, as she’s said countless times. But a more realistic second goal will be to roll back all or most of the recent bank regulatory measures made so far by the Trump Administration, which, of course, rolled back much of the regulatory measures passed under the previous administration, mainly through the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

If she’s successful, that will reduce the mammoth profits the banks have been making the past several years, which were boosted further by the Republicans’ tax reform law. That sharply reduced corporate income tax rates, not just for banks but all companies, although the banks seem to be the biggest beneficiaries. No doubt Waters and her Democrat colleagues have that in their gunsights also.

But that won’t be the end of it. Continue reading "Where Do We Go From Here?"