The Value/Growth dynamic seemed to indicate a return to the “lower rates are good for Growth stocks” regime. China reopening is still alive and well, despite a recent pause. The GSCI Industrial Metals/Gold ratio has broken below its recent range, which bodes ill for inflation expectations going forward.
A stronger U.S. dollar is “supposed” to be bearish for commodities, but it’s been a banner year for most commodities with gold among the few that are down on the year. However, keep in mind that gold tends to be a harbinger of major moves in industrial commodities, with a lead time of about six months—and its year-over-year change is now negative.
Fifty years ago this month, Richard Nixon formally suspended the convertibility of U.S. dollars into gold. Editorials commemorating this have tended to have a celebratory tone, and why not? Abandoning the gold standard greatly expanded the arsenals and imaginations of policymakers, both of which have been on historic display over the last 18 months.
July’s surge drove the yellow metal to the brink of its overvaluation threshold, where only 150 ounces of gold are required to buy the median-priced existing home (currently about $299,000). Impressively, gold made all but the last month of this move without attracting mainstream attention.
The vast majority of recent gold commentary centers on its extremely oversold technical condition and the related washout in all sorts of sentiment indicators, ranging from trader surveys to futures and options positioning. Maybe these conditions will produce a short-term bounce, but we’re going to stand with the message of our bearish longer-term work.
For more than two years we’ve discussed the supply-side risks to commodity producers stemming from capacity built during the manic “Third Act” of last decade’s Three Act Play in commodities. Commodity-oriented equities have indeed underperformed since 2011, but to date, most pundits have laid blame squarely on the demand side.
Gold broke sharply lower in April, possibly sounding the death knell for the 12-year bull market in gold (and silver). We sold one-third of our holdings in the Core and Global funds in late February at around $1595/oz., cutting each fund’s position to 4% of total assets from 6% previously. Following the big bounce in late April, we sold another chunk at $1470/oz., leaving both Core and Global funds each with a small position of 2.5% of total assets that we’ll likely continue to hold, simply in the interest of diversification.
Jim Floyd and Steve Leuthold believe that U.S. consumer price inflation has peaked and is headed for the +3% level by mid-2009. With current headline inflation running at +5.4%, that implies there is plenty of disinflation in the pipeline.