What's the Game Changer for Gold?

By: Frank Holmes | Wed, Feb 12, 2014
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With the games in Sochi underway, people around the world are tuned in to watch the competition heat up in their favorite cold-weather sports, including cross-country skiing, snowboarding and hockey.

Back in Washington, we watched Ben Bernanke officially "pass the puck" to Janet Yellen, who became the new chairman of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors last week.

Imagine if the puck were the Fed's assets--that would mean the disk is five times bigger today than when Bernanke became chairman in 2006. At the beginning of his reign, the Fed's assets were $834.6 billion. Now, the balance sheet has grown to $4.1 trillion, a previously inconceivable size.

Until last year destroyed gold's multi-year bull reign, the expansion of the U.S. balance sheet and the price of gold over the past decade moved in near lockstep. From 1999 through 2012, the correlation coefficient of the rising price of gold to the Fed's climbing assets was 0.95.

Teranga Gold's 2013 Guidance Continues Strong into the New Year

Even with the tapering of the bond purchases that began in late 2013, the Fed's balance sheet remains on an upward trajectory and much higher than the price of gold. This suggests we should see much higher prices.

What will break gold of its losing streak? Will inflation, which is a lagging indicator, be stronger than expected? In one of my most popular posts last year, I said that based on the jobs market, the limited housing recovery and regulations slowing down the flow of money, the Fed would have no choice but to start tapering and raising rates very gradually to keep stimulating the economy.

Read the Fire Fueling Gold.

In CLSA's Greed & Fear, Christopher Wood points out the forward-looking U.S. data, pending home sales index, is "clearly suggesting stalling momentum." Pending home sales have been declining for seven months in a row, "plunging by 8.7 percent month-over-month in December to the lowest level since October 2011."

There's also a weaker demand in mortgages in the past quarter. According to a survey of banks, nearly 30 percent reported weaker demand for prime mortgages, which is the "worst data since April 2011," says CLSA. About 46 percent of banks are seeing weaker demand for non-traditional residential mortgages, the worst since January 2009.

The ISM manufacturing new orders index is also off. In January, new orders fell from 64.4 in December to 51.2 in January, which was the largest monthly decline since December 1980.

So even if investors shrugged off the latest disappointing jobs report, we're pretty certain the incoming chairman is paying close attention to the scoreboard.

What looks promising today is gold's bounce off its bottom, as you can see in the chart below:

Teranga Gold's 2013 Guidance Continues Strong into the New Year

 


Want to read more on gold? See a summary of the gold market from the first week in February here. You can also join thousands of subscribers across 170 countries who receive our weekly email by subscribing to the Investor Alert. Or keep informed by following U.S. Global Investors on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

The ISM manufacturing composite index is a diffusion index calculated from five of the eight sub-components of a monthly survey of purchasing managers at roughly 300 manufacturing firms from 21 industries in all 50 states.

 


 

Frank Holmes

Author: Frank Holmes

Frank E. Holmes
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Investment Officer
U.S. Global Investors

Frank Holmes

Frank Holmes is CEO and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors, Inc., which manages a diversified family of mutual funds and hedge funds specializing in natural resources, emerging markets and infrastructure.

The company's funds have earned more than two dozen Lipper Fund Awards and certificates since 2000. The Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) was Lipper's top-performing global natural resources fund in 2010. In 2009, the World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX) was Lipper's top-performing gold fund, the second time in four years for that achievement. In addition, both funds received 2007 and 2008 Lipper Fund Awards as the best overall funds in their respective categories.

Mr. Holmes was 2006 mining fund manager of the year for Mining Journal, a leading publication for the global resources industry, and he is co-author of "The Goldwatcher: Demystifying Gold Investing."

He is also an advisor to the International Crisis Group, which works to resolve global conflict, and the William J. Clinton Foundation on sustainable development in nations with resource-based economies.

Mr. Holmes is a much-sought-after conference speaker and a regular commentator on financial television. He has been profiled by Fortune, Barron's, The Financial Times and other publications.


Please consider carefully a fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

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