Trader: “Much more to come” for Treasury Rally, Dollar Slump

By Heisenberg

Former FX trader Mark Cudmore was right.

And so were we.

Just hours before the Fed’s “dovish”, “just right” hike sent yields plunging across the curve, Cudmore said the following:

Fed rate increases should send Treasury yields up, right? It looks more likely the opposite is going to happen following the expected central bank rate rise Wednesday

We added this:

And my, oh my – if that happens and all of the shorts in the belly of the curve have to cover, it would be quite the spectacle. 

Belly

Indeed, Wednesday was basically a replay of the previous two hikes in terms of the reaction in yields:

YieldsHIkes

Of course the dollar plunged as well on the dovish message:

ChartFed

On Thursday, Cudmore is out with what amounts to a victory lap – and a prediction that there’s a lot more room to run in the UST rally and a lot more downside ahead for the dollar.

Via Bloomberg

The initial reaction to the Fed was big. But there’s much more to come still as the message was about as dovish as could have been envisioned, given it was accompanying a rate rise.

  • This column had argued that long-end yields would fall after the Fed hike. An 11 basis-point drop in 10-year Treasury yields on Wednesday might seem significant, but it’s not in the context of what happened at the meeting
  • Apart from lower commodity prices, solid but not exceptional economic growth, and a lack of runaway inflation, much of my anticipation of a dovish market reaction was based on the fact that the market was very much positioned the other way
  • But Yellen didn’t just disappoint the extremely hawkish hopes — she genuinely wasn’t hawkish at all. Of course, she couldn’t be outright negative on the economy and inflation given the Fed was tightening policy — but she went as far as she could in that direction
  • Notably, near-term risks to the economic outlook still “appear roughly balanced,” rather than skewed to the upside as some had anticipated. The Fed emphasized it’s targeting a “sustained” return to 2 percent inflation, rather than just reaching that target
  • Yellen also reiterated that the benchmark rate will persist for some time below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run, with “gradual” hikes still the plan
  • Not only did the median dot plot not rise above 3 hikes in 2017, but the average barely rose. Only five dots showed more than three hikes this year — the exact same as there were in December. Four hikes weren’t even a near miss — it wasn’t even on the radar of the majority
  • And there was no discussion of the central bank balance sheet either. That was only a tail risk but it’s yet another point lacking for the hawks
  • Everything about this meeting that could surprise dovishly, managed to do so. U.S. yields and the dollar have much further to fall as a result

Why Did Silver Fall?

By Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals

The question on the lips of everyone who plans to exchange his metal for dollars—widely thought to be money—is why did silver go down? The price of silver in dollar terms dropped from about 18 bucks to about 17, or about 5 percent.

The facile answer is manipulation. With no need of evidence—indeed with no evidence—one can assert this and not be questioned in the gold and silver communities. We have recently come across a term normally used to describe Leftists and Social Justice Warriors, virtue signaling. One piously declares that one supports the cause, one speaks truth to power, one sticks it to The Man, well you get the idea. The concept of virtue signaling seems equally appropriate to those who sing the chorus on every price drop, “manipulation.”

Besides, we have peeps in high places in London and New York and Beijing, and they tell us silver is manipulated…

Actually, we rather prefer to look at data than listen to whispers. What would the data show if demand for physical silver metal was robust and rising while someone sold so many futures contracts that the price of the metal was forced down just about a dollar?

The basis and cobasis are spreads between physical silver metal and futures. The scenario we just described would collapse the basis and skyrocket the cobasis.

Is that what happened this week?

Before we get that, we want to note that crude oil fell from $53.33 last week to $48.49, or -9%. Copper fell from $2.70 to $2.60, or -3.7%. Wheat fell from $4.53 to $4.40, or -2.9%. People miscall this deflation.

We don’t know whether this will affect the Fed’s seeming commitment to damn the economy, full rate hikes ahead. However, we do know that sentiment bleeds from one speculative asset to another (and in a near-zero interest rate environment, all assets are used by speculators). “If energy, industrial metal, and food are going down, then surely silver should go down too,” seems to be the logic.

At least this week.

We are much more interested in the supply and demand fundamentals. We acknowledge that speculators can temporarily move prices—sometimes a lot—but we firmly insist that eventually the market price reverts to the level called for by supply and demand.

So what happened to those fundamentals? Below, we will show the only true picture of the gold and silver supply and demand. But first, the price and ratio charts.

The Prices of Gold and Silver
gold and silver prices

Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio. It moved up sharply this week.  If we were chartists, we might note that the ratio seems to be making a series of higher lows since mid-July.

The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price
gold-silver ratio

For each metal, we will look at a graph of the basis and cobasis overlaid with the price of the dollar in terms of the respective metal. It will make it easier to provide brief commentary. The dollar will be represented in green, the basis in blue and cobasis in red.

Here is the gold graph.

Continue reading Why Did Silver Fall?

Worried You Might Buy Bitcoin or Gold

By Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals

The price of gold has been rising, but perhaps not enough to suit the hot money. Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin has shot up even faster. From $412, one year ago, to $1290 on Friday, it has gained over 200% (and, unlike gold, we can say that bitcoin went up—it’s a speculative asset that goes up and down with no particular limit). Compared to the price action in bitcoin, gold seems boring. While this is a virtue for gold to be used as money (and a vice for bitcoin), it does tend to attract those who just want to get into the hottest casino du jure.

Perhaps predictably, we saw an ad from a gold bullion dealer. This well-known dealer is comparing gold to bitcoin, and urging customers to stick with gold because of gold’s potential for price appreciation. We would not recommend this argument. Whatever the merits of gold may be, going up faster than bitcoin is not among them.

We spotted an ad today from a mainstream financial adviser. The ad urged clients not to buy gold. This firm should have little need to worry. Stocks have been in a long, long, endless, forever, never-to-end bull market. Gold is not doing anything exciting now. $1234? “WhatEVAH (roll eyes)!” Stocks, well, the prices just keep on going up. Like we said, nothing whatsoever to worry about. Other than declining dividend yields. There’s more than enough irony to go around.

Speaking of dividend yield, that leads us to an idea. Readers know that we like to compare the yield of one investment to another. This is why we quote the basis as an annualized percentage. You can compare basis to LIBOR easily. And also stocks. Or anything else.

For example, the basis for December—a maturity of well under a year—is 1.2%. The dividend yield of the S&P stocks is just 1.9%. For that extra 70bps, you are taking a number of known risks, and some unknown risks too.

It is worth noting that the yield on the 10-year Treasury is up to 2.5%. Yes, that’s right, you are paid less for the risk of investing in big corporations than you are for holding the risk free asset. Of course, the Treasury bond is not really risk free. But in any case, if the Treasury defaults then it’s safe to assume most corporations will be destroyed, if not our whole civilization.

Continue reading Worried You Might Buy Bitcoin or Gold

Curious Gold-Silver Ratio That Did Not Fall

By Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals

This holiday-shortened week (Monday was President’s Day in the US), the price of the dollar fell. In gold, it fell almost half a milligram to 24.75mg, and prices in silver it dropped 30mg, to 1.7 grams of the white monetary metal. Flipped upside down, gold went up 23 notes from the Federal Reserve, and silver appears to go up by 41 cents.

Below, we will show the only true picture of the gold and silver supply and demand fundamentals. But first, the price and ratio charts.

The Prices of Gold and Silver
gold and silver prices

Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio. It moved sideways again this week, which would normally be odd for a time when the prices of the metals are rising.

The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price
gold-silver ratio

For each metal, we will look at a graph of the basis and cobasis overlaid with the price of the dollar in terms of the respective metal. It will make it easier to provide brief commentary. The dollar will be represented in green, the basis in blue and cobasis in red.

Here is the gold graph.

The Gold Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
gold and the us dollar

For a very long time, we would post graphs that looked almost the same. Oh, the specifics of month, price, and basis would be different. But they had a certain sameness. The price of the dollar (i.e. inverse of the price of gold, in dollar terms) would move along with the cobasis (i.e. scarcity of gold). So as the dollar would rise (i.e. the price of gold would fall), the scarcity would rise. And vice versa. This means changes in price were due to changes in behavior by speculators.

And now we have a clear picture of … the opposite. The dollar has been falling since mid-December. And for that same time, the cobasis (scarcity of gold) has been rising.

Yes, gold has been getting scarcer as it becomes pricier.

How could this be possible? Doesn’t the law of supply and demand work for gold? You know, the standard “X” graph from Econ. 101?

Gold has several unique properties. One is that it is not purchased for consumption, but for monetary reserves or jewelry (which in most of the world is monetary reserves). Contrast that to copper which is purchased by plumbing manufacturers to make pipe. It’s a competitive market, and if the price of copper plumbing goes up too much then home builders will switch to plastic. Demand drops as price rises. Also, the marginal copper mine will increase production. Supply rises as price rises. It is self-correcting.

Gold, not being bought to consume, does not have a limit to demand as price rises. If anything a rising price (i.e. a falling currency) signals to people that holding gold is a good thing. They were wise to get out of their falling paper currency, and should consider buying more gold.

Also, virtually all of the gold ever mined in human history is still in human hands. All of this gold is potential supply, at the right price and under the right conditions. Even if gold mining worked like copper mining, and miners could just produce more, changes in mine production at the margin are not material to the overall gold supply. By official estimates, the total inventory of gold would take over 70 years to be produced at current mine production rates (and we believe this is a low estimate).

Readers may object that this question is a bit unfair, as any commodity can experience rising tightness and that will accompany its rising price for a while until the market can correct itself. That is true, but what we are looking at in gold is not that at all. When the market corrects itself—which we think is very likely, we do not see Armageddon just yet—it will not be because gold miners have cranked up their outputs, nor because gold users have substituted another metal. There is no substitute for monetary reservation, particularly as paper currencies are in the terminal stages of failure.

Our calculated fundamental price is now up to almost $1,400.

Now let’s look at silver.

The Silver Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
silver and the us dollar

The trend of falling dollar (i.e. rising price of silver) and rising cobasis (scarcity) is here in silver, too, but it’s weaker.

Silver does not quite have the same stocks to flows ratio as gold, but it has far and away a higher ratio than copper or any ordinary commodity. That is why silver is the other monetary metal.

The fundamental price of silver is now up to about $18.70. While this is over the market price of the metal, it’s not nearly so much above as gold.

This is why we calculate a fundamental on the gold-silver ratio over 74.

Don’t Short This Dog

By Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals

This week, the prices of the metals mostly moved sideways. There was a rise on Thursday but it corrected back to basically unchanged on Friday.

This will again be a brief Report, as yesterday was a holiday in the US.

Below, we will show the only true picture of the gold and silver supply and demand fundamentals. But first, the price and ratio charts.

The Prices of Gold and Silver
gold and silver prices

Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio. It moved sideways this week.

The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price
gold-silver ratio

For each metal, we will look at a graph of the basis and cobasis overlaid with the price of the dollar in terms of the respective metal. It will make it easier to provide brief commentary. The dollar will be represented in green, the basis in blue and cobasis in red.

Here is the gold graph.

The Gold Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
gold and the us dollar

The price was unchanged, but the basis is up slightly and cobasis is down (i.e. gold became slightly more abundant). This is not the news dollar shorters (i.e. those betting on the gold price) want to see.

Our calculated fundamental price is all but unchanged around $1,360.

Now let’s look at silver.

The Silver Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
silver and the us dollar

In silver, the basis is basically unchanged but the cobasis went up a bit. The silver market got just a bit tighter, and our calculated fundamental price is up more than 30 cents to about a quarter above the market price. Not exactly “bet the farm with leverage territory”, but definitely not “short this dog” either.

Watch this space. We have some exciting data science to reveal soon.

Roses Are Red and so’s Been EURUSD’s Trend

By Elliott Wave International

Learn what indicator foresaw the euro’s recent reversal to a one-month low

According to mainstream financial wisdom, market trends are driven by news events much in the same way a lover’s heart is controlled by Cupid’s arrow. A “shot” of positive news lifts prices; a “shot” of negative news hurts them.

Simple, right?

Not exactly. See, we believe the main force driving market trends is that of investor psychology, which unfolds as Elliott wave patterns directly on the market’s price chart. These patterns are not beholden to the current news cycle, and therefore, often run counter in nature to the mainstream outlook for future price action.

Take, for instance, the euro’s recent performance. On January 31, the euro was on cloud nine, having started the month at a 14-year low only to end it at a two-month high.

“Why the Euro is a Buy?” asked one January 31 news source.

And, according to the mainstream experts, the answer included a raft of positive economic data released on January 31, such as:

  • Eurozone inflation soared to its highest level since February 2013
  • Euro area’s GDP rose at a faster pace than the U.S. for the first time since 2008
  • Euro area registered its lowest unemployment rate in 7 years
  • The U.S. dollar suffered its worst January in 30 years

Also in the euro’s favor was supportive political rhetoric expressed on February 1 by U.S. President Trump’s top trade advisor, who on that day called the euro “an implicit Deutsche mark that is grossly undervalued.”

Everything was coming up red roses in the euro’s fundamental backdrop.

But, according to the analysis our Currency Pro Service posted on February 2, a major bearish development was underway in the EURUSD’s technical backdrop — namely, the end of an Elliott second wave, and start of a powerful wave 3 decline.

“EURUSD poked to a new recovery high before closing lower when compared to Wednesday. The possible reversal day might signal the second wave recovery is finally at an end. An impulsive decline would bolster that idea…

“A decline beneath 1.0620 would signal the turn might have occurred.”

So, what happened next?

Well, despite the rosy fundamental backdrop, the EURUSD indeed turned down (falling euro, rising dollar), plunging rapidly to a one-month low on February 14. Here, the next chart captures the dramatic decline:

Now, the February 14 Currency Pro Service reveals whether ample evidence is in place of a bottom — none of which, by the way, comes from the day’s news.


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This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Roses Are Red… and So’s Been EURUSD’s Trend. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.

Silver Futures Market Assistance

By Keith Weiner of Monetary Metals

This week, the prices of the metals moved up on Monday. Then the gold price went sideways for the rest of the week, but the silver price jumped on Friday. Is this the rocket ship to $50? Will Trump’s stimulus plan push up the price of silver? Or just push silver speculators to push up the price, at their own expense, again?

This will again be a brief Report this week, as we are busy working on something new and big. And Keith is on the road, in New York and Miami.

Below, we will show the only true picture of the gold and silver supply and demand fundamentals. But first, the price and ratio charts.

The Prices of Gold and Silver
gold and silver prices

Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio. It fell this week.

The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price
gold-silver ratio

For each metal, we will look at a graph of the basis and cobasis overlaid with the price of the dollar in terms of the respective metal. It will make it easier to provide brief commentary. The dollar will be represented in green, the basis in blue and cobasis in red.

Here is the gold graph.

The Gold Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
gold and us dollar

Again, we see a higher price of gold (shown here in its true form, a lower price of the dollar) along with greater scarcity (i.e. cobasis, the red line).

This pattern continues. What does it mean?

First, it means the price of gold is being pushed up by buyers of physical metal. Not by buyers of futures (which would push up the basis, and reduce scarcity).

Second, if it continues too much more, it means nothing good for the banking system. There is one force that can make all the gold in the world—which mankind has been accumulating for thousands of years—disappear faster than you can say “bank bail in”. The force is fear of counterparties, fear of banks, fear of currencies, fear of central bank balance sheets… fear of government finances.

We want to emphasize that the gold basis is not signaling disaster at the moment. It is merely moving in that direction, for the first time in a long time. It has a ways to go yet.

Our calculated fundamental price is up another $40 (on top of last week’s +$40). It is now about $130 over the market price.

Now let’s look at silver.

The Silver Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
silver and us dollar

Note: we switched to the May contract, as March was becoming unusable in its approach to expiry.

In silver, the story is a bit less compelling. The scarcity of the metal is holding, as the price rises. However, scarcity is not increasing.

Were we to take a guess, we would say there is some good demand for physical, and the price action had futures market assistance.

While the market price moved up 44 cents, our calculated fundamental price moved up … 46 cents.

U.S. Exorbitant Privilege at Risk?!

By Axel Merk

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, American’s exorbitant privilege might be at risk with broad implications for the U.S. dollar and investors’ portfolios. Let me explain.

The U.S. was the anchor of the Bretton Woods agreement that collapsed when former President Nixon ended the dollar’s convertibility into gold in 1971. Yet even when off the remnants of the gold standard, the U.S. has continued to be the currency in which many countries hold their foreign reserves. Why is that, what are the benefits and what are the implications if this were under threat?

Let me say at the outset that the explanation I most frequently hear as to why the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency – “it is because of tradition” – which is in my opinion not a convincing argument. Tradition only gets you so far – it ought to be policies and their implementation that guide investors.

Wikipedia’s definition of exorbitant privilege includes:

“The term exorbitant privilege refers to the alleged benefit the United States has due to its own currency (i.e., the US dollar) being the international reserve currency.[..]

Academically, the exorbitant privilege literature analyzes [..] the income puzzle [which] consists of the fact that despite a deeply negative net international investment position [NIIP], the U.S. income balance is positive, i.e. despite having much more liabilities than assets, earned income is higher than interest expenses.”

In the context of today’s discussion, I would like to focus on what I believe may be the most under-appreciated yet possibly most important aspect of the so-called exorbitant privilege: what makes the U.S. so unique is that it is de facto acting as the world’s bank. A bank takes on (short-term) deposits and lends long-term, capturing the interest rate differential.

Continue reading U.S. Exorbitant Privilege at Risk?!

The Wrath

By Doug Noland

Credit Bubble Bulletin: The Wrath

It’s not the first time that a non-farm payrolls rally wiped away inklings of market anxiety. Coming early in the month – and on Fridays – the jobs report typically makes for interesting trading dynamics. By the end of another interesting week, the timely reemergence of “goldilocks” along with Trump The Deregulator were propelling stocks higher. Long forgotten were Monday’s “Stocks Fall Most in Month…” and “Trump Rally Hits Speed Bump on Immigration Concern.” Indeed, markets were grateful to let a number of developments slip from memory.

It’s still worth mentioning a few indicators that were beginning to lean away from “Risk On”. Prior to Friday’s jump, the powerful bank stock rally had stalled. The BKX was down almost 2% from Thursday to Thursday (Italian and Japanese banks down 3.4% and 2.9%). Small cap stocks have underperformed, with the Russell 2000 down slightly y-t-d as of Thursday’s close. Many “Trump Rally” stocks and trades have recently underperform. Equity fund flows were negative for three straight weeks. In high-yield debt, the rally had similarly lost momentum. Also noteworthy, Treasuries rallied only tepidly on Monday’s equity market selloff. European bonds continue to trade poorly (Greek yields up 33 bps; French spreads to bunds widened another 10bps). This week saw bullion jump $29. The dollar Index is now down 2.5% y-t-d.

The dollar/yen has for a while now been a key market indicator. After trading as low as 101.2 on election night market drama, Trump-induced king dollar euphoria had the dollar/yen surging to almost 119 by early January. The dollar/yen traded down to almost 112 on Thursday, to a two-month low. And similar to Treasuries, the dollar/yen these days struggles to participate during “Risk On” days. Trading slightly higher Friday, the yen jumped 2.2% against the dollar this week.

Continue reading The Wrath

Gold and Silver Divergence

By Monetary Metals

This week, the prices of the metals went up, with the gold price rising every day and the silver price stalling out after rising 42 cents on Tuesday. The gold-silver ratio went up a bit this week, an unusual occurrence when the prices are rising. Everyone knows that the price of silver is supposed to outperform—the way Pavlov’s Dogs know that food comes after the bell. Speculators usually make it so.

This will be a brief Report this week, as we are busy working on something new and big.

Below, we will show the only true picture of the gold and silver supply and demand fundamentals. But first, the price and ratio charts.

The Prices of Gold and Silver
gold and silver prices

Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio. It rose slightly this week.

The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price
gold-silver ratio

For each metal, we will look at a graph of the basis and cobasis overlaid with the price of the dollar in terms of the respective metal. It will make it easier to provide brief commentary. The dollar will be represented in green, the basis in blue and cobasis in red.

Here is the gold graph.

The Gold Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
gold and the us dollar

Do we have rising price of gold, up $25 (i.e. falling dollar, from 26mg to 25.5mg gold)? Yes. Do we have rising scarcity of gold (i.e. the cobasis, our measure of scarcity)? Why yes, we do.

This resumes the pattern that began the last week of December. The price of gold made a low of $1,127 (i.e. the dollar made a high of 27.6mg). Since then, the price of gold has been rising (i.e. the dollar has been falling) while the scarcity of gold has been rising.

Not a lot. Not Defcon 5, gold is going to spike to $10,000 (i.e. the dollar is going to crash to 3mg gold). Not a big obvious crisis-looking sort of move. Just a gradual move from -100bps to -68bps. What makes it significant is that it occurred with rising price. Gold is becoming scarcer as its price rises.

So far, this move has been driven by buyers of physical metal.

Our calculated fundamental price is up $40 to stay about $100 over the market price.

Now let’s look at silver.

The Silver Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
silver and the us dollar

In silver, there is quite a bit more volatility in the basis. And though the March cobasis is up, farther contracts do not show the same move.

Our calculated fundamental price did move up a bit—15 cents. However, it did not keep up with the market move. So now it’s basically even with the market price. It turns out speculators did think that silver ought to outperform gold, and they tried. They caught up to and passed the buyers of physical metal.

We note that in the futures market, the open interest in gold turned down sharply starting last week. However, silver open interest diverged, and continued to skyrocket.