Gold struggles with two of three main engines sputtering

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  Gold prices may be supported by rising bond prices and US rate cut expectations, but equities and USD need to fall in line as well for gold to rally.


UPDATE: Gold has continued to weaken into the US session with the price currently down 1.3% at $1,292/oz on the day while moving closer to the key area of support below $1,285/oz. The additional weakness, which has triggered renewed long liquidation from leveraged funds, has been supported by the ongoing mayhem in Platinum Group Metals.

Palladium, down 6% on the day and 15% since March 21, has run into a reality check following the technical break below $1,500 yesterday. The $780 rally since last August on very tight fundamentals had increasingly been attracting momentum buyers looking for the rally to extend further. When bubbles emerge, so does the risk of a violent correction, especially when liquidity is as dismal as it is in palladium. 

The real challenge to gold, however, has not been palladium but the 2.2% drop in platinum following what looked like a promising start to the day when it came close to challenging key resistance at $875/oz. 




Gold continues to exhibit signs of investor apathy as the price drifts lower towards $1,300/oz. The lack of a bullish tailwind following last week’s uber-dovish Federal Open Market Committee statement and the subsequent drop in bond yields are short-term concerns. The circumstance highlights how gold currently needs all of itsthree main engines for support in order to attempt another run to the upside. 

While falling bond yields and an 80% probability of a US rate cut before year-end is supportive, the other two engines, stocks and the dollar, have both been sputtering. Stable stocks reduce the demand for alternative or safe-haven assets while the dollar has continued to recover from its post-FOMC sell-off. Growth concerns remain a key focus and one that if it deteriorates could reduce the appeal for stocks while lending a hand to gold.

With the uptrend from early March and the 50-day moving average both broken, the risk of a deeper correction has emerged. Using Fibonacci extension methods, the first level of support can be found at $1,300/oz followed by $1,291/oz and the important $1,283/oz level. The depth of the correction is likely to be determined by the movements of the dollar and stocks.
Source: Saxo Bank
Underlying demand through exchange-traded products remains healthy with total holdings have risen in 11 out of the last 13 days. Hedge funds, meanwhile, continue to struggle and constantly have to adjust their leveraged exposure. In the run up to the March 20 FOMC meeting they increased bullish gold bets by 38% and the additional buying following the dovish outcome up until last Friday has once again left them exposed and in need of reducing exposure. 
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