Impressive, is the word best describing gold’s performance so far this year. Currently up around 7% during a time where normal drivers such as US real yields and the dollar have risen, normally a development that would see gold struggle. The prospect of aggressive tightening by the US Federal Reserve has driven ten-year real yields higher by more than 1% while supporting a near 4% rise in the dollar against a broad index of currencies.
Last year’s relatively weak performance, especially against the dollar, despite emerging inflationary concerns was driven by portfolio managers cutting back on the holdings they accumulated during 2020 as stock markets rallied and bond yields held relatively steady, thereby reducing the need for diversification. Fast forward to 2022 and we are now dealing with multiple uncertainties, some of which were already present before Russia invaded Ukraine. Inflation and growth concerns have both been turbocharged by war and sanctions, and together with elevated volatility in bonds and not least stocks, investors have sought safe havens in tangible assets such as investment metals.
During the past year, gold and ten-year real yields have struggled to follow their usual inverse paths, and the dislocation accelerated further during Q1 when gold increasingly managed to ignore rising yields. At current levels gold is theoretically overvalued by around 300 dollars, and highlights a major shift in focus.