ETF Securities Research Blog

How low could the gold price go?

With the prospect of the US Federal Reserve (Fed) now hiking 3 times in 2017 it is likely that in the shorter-term there is further price weakness for gold, but how low could it go and what could influence the price?

There is a very close relationship between the gold price and the US dollar. If the dollar rises, gold historically falls, as has been the case during Q4 2016 as expectations for a rate hike have become more aligned amongst investors. Consequently, the US dollar has risen 7.5% since and gold has sold off by 13.5%.

goldusd

Looking at CFTC futures positioning, which is indicative of investor sentiment, it highlights that investors are not yet at peak bullishness for the US dollar nor are they at peak bearishness for gold that was witnessed at the end of 2015, just after the Fed’s first rate hike. If we assume similar levels of sentiment for both the US dollar and gold then it suggests that gold could fall by 19% by year-end, bringing the gold price close to US$1070.

Whilst the pressure on the gold price will be predominantly negative in the coming months we continue to believe there are sizeable risks for 2017 that are likely to support the gold price.

  • 82% of headline inflation moves in the US can be explained by moves in the oil price over the last 4 years, the recent rise of crude prices imply the year-end inflation could be close to 3%. This is a double-edged sword for gold, in the shorter term it may push up the prospects for more aggressive rate hikes weighing on gold, but the FED can’t be too aggressive on rates as the US economic recovery could be derailed and government debt remains high. An ineffective Fed would be supportive for gold in the longer-term.

oilcpi

  • The rapid 5% rise in the USD clearly hurt those companies with greater foreign revenue exposure in Q4 2015. US companies where foreign revenues are significant (greater than 40%), year on year revenues declined 11% versus only 5% for the S&P500 as a whole in Q4 2015. This time around the US dollar has rallied 7.5% over Q4, threatening to damage company earnings during the next reporting season and in turn weigh on prices when optimism in the equity markets remain high.
  • 70% of Europe (by GDP) has elections in 2017 if Italy is included, and with populists either gaining or leading in the polling, political instability is likely to be high.
  • Markets are giving the President Elect the benefit of the doubt on his tax cutting and infrastructure spend promises, but what success will the President Elect have in negotiating a higher debt ceiling? We believe that the net effect of tax cuts is likely to be neutral whilst being disruptive for US corporates as their implementation will have such a varied impact.

These issues that may take a while for the markets to quantify, and may only begin to be priced in the second half of 2017. We believe the continued weakness in the gold price will present attractive entry points in the coming 6 months.