We are halfway through 2018 and we have already seen gold showing some interesting movements.
The first half of 2018 has been quite an action-packed for global financial markets. In US and Asia, most of the growth was captured by tech stocks. Equities experienced a few pullbacks during the first 3 months as geopolitical tensions increased. So far, investors seemed to have shrugged off the escalating trade war rhetoric between the US and many of its trading partners.
Gold was up by more than 4 % in the first few months of the year but finished on a negative note by the end of June. This downward trend continued in July as gold dropped further. Though gold was volatile until the first quarter, it has been moving in a relatively low range since.
The three main reasons being-
- A strengthening US dollar
- Soft physical demand for gold in the first half of 2018
- Higher investor’s threshold for headline risk
Now coming to the second half of 2018. This year, there are plenty of factors which could lead to a medium-term gold price reset which could put that $1,400 price target back in its sights. This may sound over-optimistic, but a lot of hope in being built mainly over the belief that we still have 6 months and of those, a lot of things are expected to happen over the second half.
We see a lot of factors that can reset the gold price to $1400, we can broadly categorize them into 4 groups-
- Economic development and capital growth
- Global market uncertainties
- Capital flows and price trends
- Competing assets
So now where do we see the yellow metal in the coming months? Well , we think that the outlook for gold will mainly be influenced by a few macro trends-
TRADE WARS AND THEIR IMPACT ON EXPORT IMPORT- President Trump’s planned tariff impositions against imports from China and elsewhere have been seen as positive for the dollar and the U.S. economy. No matter that these tariffs are potentially inflationary in the domestic marketplace and that tit-for-tat measures being imposed on American exports could be very damaging to certain targeted U.S. exporters.
The counter tariffs being put in place could also see a downturn in export-oriented company stock prices, which could lead to a drift downwards in other equities and a drift down could spread to become a rout given the seemingly overbought state of the markets. Thus will have a positive impact on gold and may well push prices high.
EQUITIES– The long equities bull market, which does seem as though it may have come to an end this year, is seen as at least partly responsible for the lack of interest in precious metals investment. A serious downturn in equities could thus drive investors back in the perceived safe havens of gold and silver.
An equities collapse, which many commentators have been predicting, could initially bring precious metals down with it with investors and funds struggling for liquidity and needing to sell good assets to stay afloat. We saw this in the big market downturn in 2008, but gold, in particular, recovered any losses quickly and was rising when equities were still turning down. This is a pattern which could well be repeated.
INCREASED GOLD HOLDINGS- Gold may well be one of the mechanisms being used to help reduce reliance on U.S. denominated reserve assets – certainly by Russia and probably by China which shrouds its central bank gold holdings in secrecy. But even so this seems to be having little or no impact on the gold price at the moment – but it could have implications in the longer term.
In the long term, we do feel that gold has a good future with falling supply and rising demand. The big question is when will the price turn back upwards again?
Some say soon, while some still support the bears market. But we cannot ignore the fact that a lot can happen in the markets in five and a half months. We would expect the dollar to start to fall back as the true impact of the Trump tariffs begins to be felt. U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s latest fairly optimistic statement to Congress, seen as responsible, at least in part, for the latest gold price dip, in reality only confirmed what had been said before.
We think there’s a good chance that this will happen sometime in the final four months of the year and we might see the gold price reaching $1400 level by year-end.