Gold signals trouble ahead

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Published : May 22nd, 2012
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Category : Market Analysis

 

 

 

 

Precious metals are still struggling to gain ground in the face of persistent fears about the eurozone and the threat of a 2008-style market meltdown. The CFTC’s latest Commitments of Traders Reports for the gold and silver futures market in America shows managed money (read: hedge funds, commodity trading advisors, etc) holding their largest short positions in these markets since September 2008. Is The Great Crash coming?

The GotGoldReport comments, however, that if recent history is any guide these large short positions are more often that not an indicator that we are getting close to a bottom, as the chart below suggests:


Gold remains trapped in a range between $1,550 and $1,600, after failing yesterday to settle above $1,600. Silver is holding above $28 just about, but it’s not going to take much in the way of selling to take the price down to just above $26 if we get more depressing economic news. The plunge in the newly issued Facebook shares is an apt metaphor for the broader malaise affecting markets at the moment.

Why, you may ask, are precious metals – and in particular, gold – not doing well in such an environment? Isn’t gold supposed to be a hedge against financial Armageddon?

As John Butler addresses in a new article at the Cobden Centre Blog, as far as financial regulators are concerned, it is not a safe haven asset. Crucially, it is not counted towards banks’ “Tier 1 capital” – those assets such as highly liquid government bonds that regulators deem the “safestinvestments. This means that when the going gets tough, banks are forced to sell gold, silver, and other liquid non-Tier 1 assets in order to raise Tier 1 capital.

Over longer periods of market strife however, this is negated by the fact that trust in financial assets is lost, meaning that precious metals increase in value relative to manypaperassets. But violent corrections are inevitable on the road to peak precious metal valuation.

 

 

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