Gold’s Key Fundamental Driver
Jordan Roy-Byrne: Barry Ritholtz is out with another article spelling more doom for the precious metals sector and the gold bugs. The self proclaimed “Gold Agnostic” penned a 2500 word missive in January which followed a blog post amid the spring 2013 collapse titled “What are Gold’s Fundamentals.” For the record, Ritholtz’s calls on the markets and Gold have been very good. He was bullish during most of the 2001-2011 advance and sold out prior to the 2013 breakdown. Give credit where credit is due. Yet, while the anti-gold and anti-gold bug mainstream eat up his Gold analysis like a lap dog we have to mention some errors and a startling omission of Gold’s key driving force.
Despite having spilled tons of ink on the subject, Ritholtz has continually failed to mention the major driver of Gold which is the direction of real interest rates. Ironically, Ritholtz often writes about following the data and avoiding narratives, yet he ignores this when discussing the yellow metal. Gold rises when real interest rates are negative or declining sharply. Its simple to understand. If investors and fund managers can earn a real rate of return on a money market fund, CD, or bond then there is no need for an alternative currency. If you can’t earn a real rate of return safely then you’ll seek alternative currencies such as Gold and Silver. The following chart from Nick Laird shows real rates and Gold over the last 80 years.
The venerable Ned Davis Research, as reported in Barrons yesterday noted that real interest rates recently have turned favorable for Gold. That is probably why they concluded that the bull is alive but wounded. Capital Economics, as reported by Frank Els also notes in a report that the real yields have declined. I happen to agree with NDR’s view that the short-term technical situation is not conducive to speculative positions. Last week we wrote that Gold could fall to $1080 before the bear ends. A weekly close below $1200 would likely trigger that final washout.