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News Bites The US and China are on ‘brink of war’ as gold touches record highs and banking sector troubles intensify

News Bites

The U.S. and China are on 'brink of war' as gold touches record highs and banking sector troubles intensify

Gold's price action was defined by major volatility this week. Gold Comex futures tested record highs as the banking sector troubles intensified. Markets also dissected Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's messaging, while Friday's stronger-than-expected U.S. employment report weighed on gold.

Here's a look at Kitco's top three stories of the week:

3. Comex gold prices test record highs and touch $2,085 an ounce.

2. There's a new U.S. debt ceiling deadline.

1. Ray Dalio: The U.S. and China are on 'the brink of an economic resources war'


Anna Golubova

For Kitco News

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold has found support above 2000 aided by the belief the Fed will pause hikes soon

Gold has found support above $2000 aided by the belief the Fed will pause hikes soon

Over the last 10 trading days, gold futures have effectively closed above $2000 per ounce. Although on an intraday basis, gold has moved below $2000 on three occasions, gold prices recovered and closed above $2000 on each instance.

On April 3, gold futures opened at $1990, traded to a high of $2007 and closed just at $2000 per ounce. On the following day, April 4 gold opened above $2000 and closed at $2038. This marked the first of 10 consecutive days in which gold closed above that critically important psychological level.

Market participants have been solidly bullish about gold based on the belief that the Federal Reserve could stop raising rates after the May FOMC meeting. The belief that the Fed will pause rate hikes after one final ¼% hike in May has ignited strong bullish market sentiment for gold pricing.

Because there is an intrinsic lag between rate hikes and the effect on contracting the economy the Federal Reserve will need to pause at some point to gauge the outcome of raising rates at every FOMC meeting since March 2022.

This optimism has pressured the dollar and yields lower and concurrently moved gold futures above $2000 per ounce. Recent volatility and diminished bullish market sentiment for gold have been in response to Federal Reserve officials who continue to reiterate the need for taking interest rates higher. Last week Fed Governor Christopher Waller said that the Federal Reserve needs to continue raising interest rates because of the high level of inflation. Reuters posted an interview today with St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard who also underscored the need for higher U.S. interest rates to combat inflation

Market participants will continue to focus on more comments from Fed officials this week before the Feds standard blackout period that will begin on April 22, ahead of the May FOMC meeting.

As of 5 PM EST gold futures basis the most active June 2023 contract is up $10.80 and fixed at $2017.80. Spot gold has moved back above $2000 and is currently up $9.91 and fixed at $2004.80.


Gary Wagner

For Kitco News

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

The Seven stages of overcoming the new hawkish Federal Reserve’s policy and forward guidance

The Seven stages of overcoming the new hawkish Federal Reserve's policy and forward guidance

Although the Federal Reserve implemented its first interest rate hike approximately one year ago, market participants went through various stages of accepting the new Federal Reserve’s narrative as fact. Oddly there are similarities to the way market participants went through a process of steps before they were able to accept and incorporate the forward guidance of the Federal Reserve. There are similarities between the steps needed for the American public to accept the new hawkish monetary policy of the Fed and overcoming a major life event such as grief.

Both events cause strong and overwhelming emotions, and the process of acceptance occurs through a series of steps that are quite similar to the seven stages of grief. In this article, we will look at the similarities between processing and accepting both scenarios.

Recently we have seen market participants move from disbelief to accepting that the Federal Reserve would implement the plan they laid out in December 2022. After the December FOMC meeting, when they released a report titled" Economic projections 2023 – 2025", which included the most current dot plot.

I entered the following question to Open AI’s GPT. "Can you compare the seven steps of grief to changes in the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve", and got the following reply?

"As an AI language model, I do not hold personal opinions, but I can provide an analogy to help illustrate how the seven stages of grief could be compared to the process necessary to accept the Federal Reserve's new hawkish monetary policy.

The seven stages of grief are a model developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to describe the process that people go through when they experience significant loss. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, testing, and integration.

Similarly, the process of accepting the Federal Reserve's new hawkish monetary policy may involve several stages. At first, there may be a feeling of denial or disbelief that the policy is necessary. Then, there may be anger or frustration about the potential consequences of the policy, such as higher interest rates or reduced economic growth.

Afterward, people may try to bargain, seeking ways to mitigate the impact of the policy or find alternatives. As the policy takes effect, there may be feelings of depression or anxiety about the unknown future. Eventually, however, people may come to accept the policy as necessary and begin testing it to see how it affects them.

Finally, the policy may be integrated into people's understanding of the economy and their financial decisions. This process may take time and may involve setbacks and adjustments along the way. However, ultimately, the acceptance of the new policy may lead to a more stable and prosperous economy in the long term."

While it is obvious that to compare the steps to overcome grief and the steps that market participants have taken to accept the new hawkish narrative of the Federal Reserve is a stretch, I believe that great insight can be gleaned from the AI platform.

Today’s decline in gold prices took the April futures contract below the opening of the first trading day on January 3. It is quite plausible that this most recent decline is a direct result of market participants accepting that the Federal Reserve "will do whatever it takes", to reduce inflation to their target level of 2%. I believe the recent decline in gold clearly demonstrates that market participants have accepted the new narrative of the Federal Reserve.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Changing expectations of the Fed’s forward guidance pressure gold lower

Changing expectations of the Fed's forward guidance pressure gold lower

The Federal Reserve first spoke about its forward guidance at last year’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. Specifically, it was Chairman Powell’s keynote speech that delivered the blow to the American public about its intent to raise rates and keep those elevated rates in place until the Fed hits its 2% inflation target.

After the December FOMC meeting the Federal Reserve released its economic projections for 2023 – 2025 including the most recent dot plot. The dot plot is the Fed’s mechanism for predicting future rates by calling on 17 Fed officials to vote on future monetary policy. In the case of the December dot plot, it revealed an overwhelming consensus that the Fed would raise rates to a target of just over 5%, and keep rates elevated for the entire calendar year of 2023.

Although the Federal Reserve has maintained its policy, it was market participants' expectations that have recently shifted from disbelief to an acceptance that the Fed will not likely back off its extremely hawkish monetary policy. This includes continued rate hikes and maintaining those elevated rates throughout the year.

During February market sentiment regarding the forward guidance of the Federal Reserve shifted from uncertainty to acceptance. That resulted in gold trading under pressure for the last three consecutive weeks. On the first full trading day of the week (due to shortened trading hours yesterday on Presidents’ Day) gold is once again trading under pressure. As of 3:25 PM EST, the most active April futures contract is down $5.30 or 0.29% and fixed at $1844.80.

While it is true that inflation has been declining since the Federal Reserve began raising rates in March of last year, recent data suggests that inflation is not diminishing as quickly as the Federal Reserve had hoped. The jobs report for January coming in well over the forecast of 188,000 versus 517,000 combined with the most recent inflation reports suggests that inflation remains elevated and persistent in certain sectors.

The most recent data has cemented the idea that the Federal Reserve will maintain its hawkish monetary policy with a real possibility of two more rate hikes and most importantly maintain the new elevated rates throughout 2023.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

With gold ending the week above 1900 analysts turn their focus to 2000

With gold ending the week above $1,900, analysts turn their focus to $2,000

Welcome to Kitco News' 2023 Outlook Series. Uncertainty continues to dominate financial markets as central bank monetary policies push the global economy into a recession to cool down inflation. Stay tuned to Kitco News to learn from the experts on how to navigate turbulent financial markets in 2023.

The gold market is ending the week at a nine-month high as renewed safe-haven demand pushed prices above $1,920 an ounce, which some analysts highlighted as an important resistance level.

Analysts have said that rising economic uncertainty and shifting market fundamentals could help push prices back to $2,000 sooner than expected.

February gold futures are looking to close the week with roughly 1% gain, with prices last trading at $1,922.80 an ounce.

"There is a gravitational pull to $2,000 and it will only build as prices continue to move higher," said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures.

Gold's late afternoon rally came after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to Congress warning lawmakers that the government could hit its debt limit on Jan. 19.

picGrowing fears that the U.S. could potentially default on its debt obligations have increased recently as the Republican Party's slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to complicate negotiations. Some Republican politicians have already said that any rise in the debt limit needs to be accompanied by deep spending cuts.

"We knew the debt issue was going to be a problem in 2023, but we weren't expecting it to rise to prominence so soon," said Edward Moya, senior North American market analyst at OANDA. "The short-term reaction in gold is warranted, giving how much uncertainty there currently is."

However, Moya added that while near-term safe-haven demand should continue to support gold prices, there are much bigger factors impacting the gold market.

"It's just too early to see how this will play out. In the short-term, it's positive for gold, but if there is any major chaos, that would support the dollar and weigh on gold," he said.

Moya said that for gold, he sees some resistance at $1,950 an ounce, and if that breaks, there is not much to stop the market from rallying back to $2,000 an ounce.

"There is lots of momentum in the market right now and I think $2,000 is a target is just a question of when we get there," he said.

This is why you will see high premiums on American Eagle silver coins in 2023

Federal Reserve's monetary policy remains the critical driver for gold

Looking past the near-term volatility, analysts have said that the most significant influence on gold remains shifting expectations regarding the Federal Reserve and the impact easing inflation is having on bond yields and the U.S. dollar.

Consumer inflation data this past week showed that price pressures are cooling in line with expectations, which some analysts have said gives the Federal Reserve room to slow the pace of its aggressive monetary policy stance.

According to the CME's FedWatch Tool, markets see a more than 90% chance that the U.S. central bank will raise the Fed Funds rate by 25 basis points next month.

Investors anticipating that the Federal Reserve is closer to the end of its tightening cycle have pushed bond yields lower and weighed heavily on the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. dollar index is looking to end the week at its lowest level in seven months as it tests support at 102 points.

Kevin Grady, president of Phoenix Futures and Options, said that investors are seeing a fundamental change in financial markets, supporting gold prices, even if market momentum looks technically overstretched.

"I have been waiting for a fundamental change in the marketplace and I think we are starting to see that," Grady said. "The bond market is signaling that interest rates will be lower than what the Fed is saying and that is bullish for gold."

Pay attention to the U.S. dollar; it looks oversold

Although gold prices have room to move higher next week, some analysts have said that investors should use some caution at these levels and not chase the market.

While many analysts are solidly bullish on gold in the near term, they have said that investors should look to buy the precious metal on dips.

Darin Newsom, senior market analyst at Barchart, said that he sees higher gold prices as both the short-term and medium-term trends are decidedly up.

However, he added that bullish investors might have to be agile as gold could rapidly correct. He said that the key to gold's short-term momentum will be the U.S. dollar, which he said is sharply oversold. He noted that 102.17 is an important retracement level from last year's historic rally.

"When [gold] decides to turn, and it could be some point next week, it could fall fast," he said. "Markets take the stairs up and the elevator down."

Marc Chandler, managing director at Bannockburn Global Forex, said he also sees the U.S. dollar as oversold. He noted that although inflation is cooling, the Federal Reserve is still expected to raise interest rates, which could help stall the greenback's downward momentum.

Davos and economic data to watch

Although the U.S. will see a shortened trading week with markets closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there will be plenty of economic data to digest throughout the week.

Analysts have said the market could be sensitive to comments made during the annual World Economic Forum, which kicks off in Davos next week. The WEF has already raised concerns about rising geopolitical uncertainty and the continuous threat of inflation. Analysts have said that any grim outlook could further boost gold's safe-haven appeal.

The markets will also receive more retail sales numbers, inflation data and regional manufacturing numbers from the New York Federal Reserve and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

Economists have also said that investors need to keep an eye on the Bank of Japan's monetary policy decision as that could provide some bullish momentum for the U.S. dollar, which in turn would weigh on gold.

Tuesday: Empire State manufacturing index, Bank of Japan monetary policy decision

Wednesday: PPI, Retail sales

Thursday: Philly Fed Survey, weekly jobless claims, housing starts and building permits

Friday: Existing home sales

By Neils Christensen

For Kitco News

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley