by Alasdair Macleod, GoldMoney:
The period of consolidation for gold and silver appeared to have come to a dramatic end yesterday (Thursday) in heavy futures volume, with gold rising $30 and silver by thirty cents. There was more than a touch of bear squeeze involved, particularly for gold. In this morning’s trade in Europe (Friday) prices were steady, leaving gold up a net $21 on the week at $1221, and silver unchanged at $14.62.
We need to look at this week’s performance in a wider context. Yields on US Treasuries rose sharply, and a number of analysts issued research notes forecasting even higher yields to come, based on technical analysis. It triggered a sharp slide in equities, with the Dow falling 1,400 points (5.3%) in only two trading sessions, and the dollar lost ground as well. In recent weeks, extreme speculative positions across a number of markets had built up: short precious and base metals; short euro, short US Treasuries, all long dollar. It required little to trigger a dramatic reversal.
The current consensus appears to be the global economy and the major currencies in particular are in a low-inflation, low-interest rate environment, which shows no sign of ending. If so, the post-Lehman financial stability can continue, and the cost of funding debt expansion remains low. If not, the most immediate effect will be to change perceptions for the future of government finances.
Yesterday, I posted a Goldmoney Insight examining the current market, financial and economic situation, and I concluded that the long-term credit cycle is on the turn. Higher interest rates will undermine confidence in governments’ economic management and their ability to fund at affordable rates. Inevitably, questions will be raised over the future value of fiat currencies. I argue that there are similarities developing with the 1970s, when the Fed Funds Rate rose from a benign 5% to over 19%. Even half that rise would be destabilising for the dollar, because of the damage to government finances. Key to this reassessment is price inflation, which is currently only subdued by official CPI statistics, but in reality, is higher. In the seventies, gold rose 24-fold as confidence in the almighty dollar waned. It could happen again.