The Daily Reckoning
January 8, 2012
After all, in spite of some short-term fixes, there remains no real resolution to the sovereign debt issues in many European countries. We’re certainly not spending less money in the US, and now we’re bailing out Europe via currency swaps with the European Central Bank. Shouldn’t gold be rising?
Yes, but nothing happens in a vacuum. There are some simple explanations as to why gold remains in a funk.
1. The MF Global bankruptcy, the seventh-largest in US history, forced a high degree of liquidation of commodities futures contracts, including gold. Many institutional investors had to sell whether they wanted to or not. This is similar to why big declines in the stock market can force funds and other large investors to sell some gold to raise cash for margin calls or meet redemption requests.
2. The dollar has been rising. Money fleeing the Eurozone has to go somewhere, and some of it is heading into US bonds, which means first converting the foreign currency into dollars.
3. It’s tax-loss selling season, something that’s also impacting gold stocks. Funds and individual investors are selling underwater positions for tax purposes. Funds also sell their big winners to lock in gains for the year and dress up quarterly reports.
These forces have all acted to depress the gold price.
Notice I didn’t say that gold has suddenly become viewed as a poor safe haven. Nor that many of the world’s major currencies are no longer being debased… nor that global sovereign debt issues are resolved… nor that interest rates are positive. No, the fundamental reasons for owning gold are still intact. So don’t let the selling depress you.
Let’s put gold’s recent price action into perspective. It peaked on September 5 at $1,895 (London PM Fix) and has thus been in decline for about three months. Yet look at the bull market’s biggest three-month correction in relationship to the ultimate trend.