Call it the trifecta that gave rocket fuel to the gold market: Powell, positioning and politics.
It was Jerome Powell’s signal that the Federal Reserve is moving closer to lowering interest rates and a brewing conflict between Iran and the US that lit a spark in the market, burnishing gold’s credentials as a hedge against inflation and a weakening dollar. It was enough for gold to break through a long-term technical resistance at $1,350 an ounce, which unleashed a wave of short-covering and momentum buying.
In a world where many competing safe-haven assets such as government bonds are offering negative rates and the yield curve is pointing to a recession, gold is looking like an good bet. Now, all eyes are on investors who must weigh up whether to chase prices higher or cash in on the rally.
“There’s been gold-friendly news all around,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, said by phone from Copenhagen. “Those who have bought in the past few weeks will need reassurance that they haven’t just entered at the top of the market.”
Gold ended the week trading near $1,400 and recorded the biggest weekly gain in three years.
There are a lot of newcomers to the gold rally. Investors poured almost $3 billion into exchange-traded funds linked to the metal so far this month, which could be the biggest inflow since January.
But technical indicators signal that the market is getting overheated. The relative strength index is deep in overbought territory, and investors may soon decide to take profit unless there are fresh external catalysts to help keep the rally going, Hansen said.
Here are a few key things likely to drive sentiment through the rest of the month:
Any further signs of a slowdown in the US economy could help prop up the case for an interest-rate cut, thereby boosting gold’s appeal. After reports on Friday showing US manufacturing was on the cusp of contraction in June, GDP data and consumer confidence figures will be closely watched next week.
The Iran situation
So far, gold’s rally has been driven mainly by the Fed’s dovish pivot, but a further deterioration in US relations with Iran could fuel a fresh round of haven buying. US officials say Iran is rejecting efforts to resolve the dispute through diplomatic channels, raising the possibility of military action that would have immediate and far-reaching political and economic consequences in the Middle East.
Trump and Xi at G-20
Trump is due to meet with Xi Jinping at the end of the G-20 Summit with hopes of reviving talks on a trade deal. Failing to get the two sides back on track could stoke worries about the trajectory of global growth.
“Gold is very friendly towards recession,” Saxo Bank’s Hansen said.