• 40 mins Here’s Your Chance To Blow Up An Oil Pipeline
  • 2 hours Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 3 hours Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 10 hours Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 15 hours British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 19 hours Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 21 hours Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 22 hours Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 23 hours OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 24 hours London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 1 day Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 1 day Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 1 day India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 2 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 2 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 2 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 2 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 3 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 3 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 3 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 3 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 3 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 3 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 3 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 3 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 4 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 4 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 4 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 4 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 4 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 7 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 7 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 7 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 7 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 7 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 7 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 8 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
Alt Text

Can Mali Maintain Its Gold Mining Status?

Mali could be about to…

Alt Text

This Key Gold Producer Sees Its Production Slump

Africa’s second gold producer Ghana…

Alt Text

Expect Mine Closures In This Key Gold Mining Nation

Major gold mining nation South…

Gold: Fear, Uncertainty & Goldman Sachs. Where do Prices Go from Here?

Gold: Fear, Uncertainty & Goldman Sachs. Where do Prices Go from Here?

Gold fell the most in two months as the SEC’s action against Goldman Sachs (GS) spurred investors rushing out of riskier commodities and into perceived safer assets such as the U.S. dollar. Futures for June delivery slid 2% in one day to $1,136.90 an ounce.

Paulson Linked to Goldman’s Case

Goldman Sachs, the largest U.S. commodity broker, is charged with defrauding investors with a financial product tied to subprime mortgages by the Security Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, hedge fund Paulson & Co. is also mentioned by the SEC, but not charged, in connection with the Goldman Sachs matter.

Paulson & Co. is the largest institutional holder of the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) with about 8.4% stake, whereas Goldman Sachs also holds the 11th largest stake at 0.6% in the fund, according to Bloomberg data. SPDR is world’s biggest exchange- traded fund backed by physical bullion with a record gold holding of 1,141.041 tons as of April 15.

Goldman & Paulson Massive Gold Positions

Paulson's high-profile bets have partly help drive gold to record-high prices above $1,200 an ounce. Although no charges were brought against the hedge fund, the double whammy news weighed on gold, and prompted some concern in the commodity markets, since Goldman Sachs is a major player with massive positions in all commodities including gold, silver and crude oil.

An Overdue Technical Correction 

Typically, when market confidence is shaken by events such as the SEC Goldman suit, it should spell bullish for gold -- an independent store of value. However, even before the Goldman news, gold, which rallied to a four-month high of $1,170.70 on April 12, was poised for a technical correction. So, the Goldman news most likely just triggered an exit opportunity for short-term traders to lock in profits from recent gains.

Gold-Euro Affair by PIIGS

Gold futures have been in an uptrend recently and rallied more than 11% from a multi-month low in February. The metal remains near record highs in euro and pound more on account of the currency weakness, and not due to the performance of the metal itself.

Currencies

Both the euro and sterling pound had declined around 6% against the dollar in the first quarter of 2010, as the U.K.'s and PIIGS countries fiscal deficit crossed the 12% mark of respective GDPs, much higher than the EU's prescribed limit of 3%. 

With investors rotating out of the euro and into alternative assets like gold and the U.S. dollar on concerns of the Greece debt crisis, the historically negative correlation between gold prices and the dollar index has been broken since last December.

Instead, gold is now trending more positively with the dollar and inversely with the euro. (Fig. 1)
 
Watch EUR/USD
Over the near term, gold will keep looking to the dollar/euro relationship for direction with the euro dictating gold’s price.

The ongoing Greek debt saga has been a key driver of investors risk appetite. The EU already indicated Portugal may need to enact additional measures if it’s to cut its budget deficit.

Concerns of further fiscal crisis contagion into other members in the European Monetary Union could seal the euro’s fate of a continuous downward spiral against the dollar in the near term.

However, given the mountainous US deficits, it looks likely gold could reach record (nominal) highs in dollars as well in the medium term.

Technical Indicators

Technical Indicators

The U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) report indicated speculative financial investors seem to have become increasingly reserved and have been trimming their net-long positions in recent weeks. Commercial participants, who accounted for 51.3% of open interest, held net short positions at the end of March. 

A further increase in the net short position, coupled with the negative sentiment stemming from Goldman/Paulson could put the gold price under pressure and test the psychologically important $1,100 mark.
For the time being, a dip below the $1,100 should provide investors with a buying opportunity and a rise above $1,150 would serve as a profit-taking signal. (Fig. 2)

Technicals aside, gold’s long term outlook is further solidified by a couple of new “China factors.”

China Gold Demand to Double

Gold Supply

Gold demand in China has steadily increased since 1992 accounting for 11% of global gold demand in 2009. The World Gold Council forecasts demand doubling in the next 10 years from $14 billion to $29 billion on rising jewelry and investment demand.

Currently China's per capita gold consumption level lags most other major gold buying countries. Although China is the world’s largest gold producer, rising domestic demand for gold outstripped domestic supply by 109 metric tons last year. This shortfall creates a "snowball" effect as China's gold industry has to rely on imports, the World Gold Council said. (Fig. 3)

Boosted By A Stronger Yuan?

Meanwhile, some analysts also think a stronger yuan could be a catalyst to spur China’s gold demand. China might revalue its currency--the yuan or renminbi--after a recent meeting between U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese vice Premier Wang Qishan. Some analysts argue that the yuan is undervalued by as much as 40%.

A stronger yuan could support higher gold prices as the precious metal becomes cheaper to buy. Beijing has been encouraging citizens to buy gold and silver, a rise in yuan would certainly facilitate more buying.

According to the Associated Press, China let the yuan appreciate almost 20% between 2005 and 2008 during which gold prices touched $1,000 an ounce for the first time.

Underpinned By Fear & Uncertainty

Although it would seem that the Goldman-linked SEC case single-handedly killed the price of gold last week, as discussed here, it was only a catalyst to a technical correction that was overdue.

Money Supply


The fact remains that in times of uncertainty, investors historically turn to gold as a hedge against inflation and unforeseen crisis since gold is one of the very few asset classes that is not someone else's liability.

Many experts argue that gold is not an effective hedge against inflation since the then-record $873 an ounce established in 1980 should appreciate to $2,287 in terms of today’s dollar. 

However, fear of any sort usually does translate into higher gold prices. One hypothesis is that the seemingly slow and steady inflation is not explicitly overt enough to cause an overwhelming fear of inflation yet. Nevertheless, the record government debt levels and monetary printing machines will most certainly heighten investor’s inflation concerns and push gold prices much higher over the long term. (Fig. 4)

Dian L. Chu is a market analyst, founder and editor of EconMatters.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Anonymous on April 19 2010 said:
    Dear Dian,
    Very interesting write-up.
    Just one thing makes me a bit curious at the beginning:
    ... spurred investors rushing out of riskier commodities and into perceived safer assets such as the U.S. dollar. ...
    Maybe some more detailed explanation could help there.
    I am not so sure about 'gold' (physical) is a 'riskier'
    investment.
    We'll probably see, one day, a remainder people, who have some common sense left, will rush for the exit to fiat currencies.
    Doesn't anyone of you guys read the Bible?
    Gold is real, thus the bible uses it as type for God.
    Silver is real too, that's uses as a type for redemption of Christ, the son of God.
    Oil is real, used in the Bible as type for the Holy Spirit.
    Read the Word, it's life! Time is short! Buy the heavenly Gold, Silver and Oil.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News