So Far, bullion has witnessed a 9.6 percent rise in prices mainly due to the prevailing political uncertainty over Trump’s unorthodoxy, European elections and Brexit ruffle confidence.
The yellow metal reached near a four month high last week amid intensified political uncertainty in the U.S. and the EU.
All precious metals have made gains, gold, silver, platinum and palladium, as both the euro and the dollar weakened over the week. Let’s take a look as to what factors contributed to the rise and how far an important role will they play in the near future.
US uncertainty- Gold prices have hit a four month high to reaching their highest level since Donald Trump won the election.
The metal is considered as a safe haven asset for money and values rise when markets are in turmoil or in times of uncertainty. This sentiment has raised the demand for gold especially from investors thus pushing its prices higher.
As markets await a major speech by US president Donald Trump, we saw equates retreating and dollar hesitating thus strengthening gold prices and shaking off most of the losses incurred following the surprise election result, as markets continue to unwind Trump trade.
Fed Rate Hike- Last Wednesday’s release of minutes from the last FOMC meeting on January 31 – February 1 struck a slightly more hawkish tone as Fed members discussed the appropriateness of another rate hike ‘fairly soon.’ concerns over the risks and uncertainties surrounding the Trump Administration’s fiscal stimulus plans as well as a strengthening US dollar tempered that hawkish stance. In the end, markets were once again left with continued ambiguity regarding the pace of monetary policy tightening in the coming months. Indeed, the Fed Fund futures market still saw a low percentage probability of a March rate hike – in the high-teens to low-20’s – a day after release of the FOMC minutes. This sustained policy uncertainty helped weigh on the dollar while boosting the price of gold further. Reduced expectations of a US rate hike in March following the release of the minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s last meeting are also helping gold.
EU elections- Despite the virtually relentless rally in US and global equity markets, geopolitical risks continued to abound, particularly in Europe. Article 50, which officially begins the process of separation between the UK and European Union (‘Brexit’), is slated to be triggered no later than in March. A former European Commission official has recently stated that the triggering of Article 50 could lead to a ‘complete breakdown’ of UK/EU relations.
Additionally, France’s far-right, anti-EU presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, is leading in polls for the first round of the upcoming French elections. Although she is not currently favored to win against frontrunner Emmanuel Macron, any surprise victory by the populist/nationalist Le Pen will undoubtedly lead to serious questions about the future of the EU.
Geopolitical worries and political concerns in the EU continue which is leading a flight to safety bid in gold futures market and gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) and demand for safe haven gold bullion.
Dollar- The dollar looks vulnerable due to the uncertainty about US President Donald Trump and the new U.S. administration’s policies. Overnight Trump attacked China and accused the Chinese of being ‘grand champions’ of currency manipulation.
This alone is quite bullish for gold. It does not create confidence about trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies and it suggests that we may be about to embark on the next phase of the global currency wars.
The US president is to deliver his first speech to US Congress next week, after US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said the impact of fiscal stimulus this year on the economy might be limited.
Amid these uncertainties in Europe as well as those in the US under the Trump Administration’s still-hazy policy trajectory and the Fed’s murky monetary policy, gold has continued to extend its sharp uptrend that began after price bottomed out around the $1125 support area in late December.