Gold’s downtrend: is this just the beginning?
Kitco Commentaries | Opinions, Ideas and Markets Talk
Featuring views and opinions written by market professionals, not staff journalists.
With the yellow metal just posting its lowest close since June and a bearish pattern forming, how vulnerable is gold to a further decline?
Gold and mining stocks just broke to new yearly lows – as I warned you in my previous analyses. And that’s only the beginning.
Let’s jump right into the charts, starting with gold.
Figure 1 - COMEX Gold Futures
In early February, gold broke below the rising red support line and it then verified it by rallying back to it and then declining once again. It topped almost exactly right at its triangle-vertex-based reversal, which was yet another time when this technique proved to be very useful.
Gold has just closed not only at new yearly lows, but also below the late-November lows (in terms of the closing prices, there was no breakdown in intraday terms). This means that yesterday’s (Feb. 17) closing price was the lowest daily close since late June 2020. At the moment of writing these words, gold is also trading below the April 2020 intraday high.
Gold was likely to slide based on myriads of technical and cyclical factors, while the fundamental factors remain very positive – especially considering that we are about to enter the Kondratiev winter, or we are already there. As a reminder, Kondratiev cycles are one of the longest cycles and the stages of the cycle take names after seasons. “Winter” tends to start with a stock market top that is caused by excessive credit. In this stage gold is likely to perform exceptionally well… But not right at its start. Even the aftermath of the 1929 top (“Winter” started then as well), gold stocks declined for about 3 months before soaring. In the first part of the cycle, cash is likely to be king. And it seems that the performance of the USD Index is already telling investors to buckle up.
And speaking of stocks, what about mining stocks? As you might already well know, just as with gold, the miners moved below the November lows in terms of both the intraday prices and daily closing prices. What does that mean? If you’d like to explore mining stocks in detail and are curious to know more about their prices and possible exit levels, then our full version of the analyses contains exactly what you need to know.
Getting back to gold…
If the fact that gold invalidated its breakout above its 2011 high, despite the ridiculously positive fundamental situation, doesn’t convince you that gold does not really “want” to move higher before declining profoundly first, then the above chart might.
As I wrote above, gold is currently more or less when it was trading at the April 2020 top. Where was the USD Index trading back then? It was moving back and forth around the 100 level.
The USD Index closed a little below 91, and gold is at the same price level! That’s a massive 9 index-point decline in the USDX that gold shrugged off just like that.
There’s no way that gold could “ignore” this kind of movement and be “strong” at the same time. No. It’s been very weak in the previous months, which is a strong sign (not a fundamental one, but a critical one nonetheless) that gold is going to move much lower once the USD Index finally rallies back up.
Right now, waiting for gold to rally is like waiting for the light to turn green, arguing that eventually it has to turn green, while not realizing that the light is broken (gold just didn’t rally despite the huge decline in the USDX). Yes, someone will fix it and eventually it will turn green, but it doesn’t mean that it makes much sense to wait for that to happen, instead of looking around and crossing the street if it’s safe to do so.
Yes, gold is likely to rally to new highs in the coming years. And silver is likely to skyrocket. But in light of just two of the above-mentioned factors (gold’s extreme underperformance relative to the USD Index and the invalidation of a critical breakdown) doesn’t it make sense not to purchase gold right now (except for the insurance capital that is) in order to buy it after several weeks / few months when it’s likely to be trading at much lower levels?
We live in very specific times. Getting a “like” on a post or picture becomes a necessary daily activity and means of self-validation. Not “liking” something that others posted or that is massively “liked” may be frowned upon or even viewed as being disrespectful. Plus, it seems that no matter what you do, everyone gets offended very easily. When did honesty, independence and common-sense stop being virtues?
When it comes to gold investment analysis, it’s surprisingly similar. You either like gold and think that it’s going higher right away or you’re “one of them”. “Them” can be anyone who tries to manipulate gold or silver prices, “banksters”, or some kind of unknown enemy. “ Analysts' ” goal is often no longer to be as objective as possible and to provide as good and as unbiased an analysis as possible, but to simply be cheering for gold and provide as many bullish signals as possible regardless of what one really thinks about them. The above may seem pleasant to readers, but it’s not really in their best interest. In order to make the most of any upswing, it’s best to enter the market as low as possible and to exit relatively close to the top. What happens before a price is as low as possible? It declines. Why would something like that (along with those describing it) be hated by gold investors? It makes no sense, but yet, it’s often the case.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
The discussion – above and below – can be viewed as something positive or negative for any investor, but while reading it, please keep in mind that our goal is the same as yours – we want to help investors make the most of their precious metals investments. Call us old-fashioned, but regardless of how unpleasant it may seem, we’ll continue to adhere to honesty, independence and common-sense in all our analyses
Ok, but why on Earth would the USD Index rally back up? The Fed is printing so much dollars – why would they be worth more?!
Because the currencies are valued with relation to each other and whether or not the USD Index moves higher or lower doesn’t depend only on what the Fed is doing.
What other monetary authorities do matters as well and right now the ECB is outprinting the Fed (that’s what the decline in the green line above means), which means that the euro is likely to fall more than the U.S. dollar. Therefore, the EUR/USD currency exchange rate would be likely to decline and since this exchange rate is the biggest (over 50%) component of the USD Index, it makes perfect sense – from the fundamental point of view – to expect the USD Index to move higher.
Can gold rally despite higher USD Index values? Absolutely. However, it would first have to start to behave “normally” relative to the USD Index, and before that happens it would have to stop being extremely weak relative to it. And the fact that gold is at the same price level despite a 9-index-point decline in the USDX is extreme weakness.
To make the technical discussion easier, I’m attaching the previous chart once again.
On Monday (Feb. 15), I wrote the following about the above chart:
The size and shape of the 2017-2018 analogue continues to mirror the current price action . However, today, it’s taken 118 less days for the USD Index to move from peak to trough.
Also, it took 82 days for the USDX to bottom in 2017-2018 (the number of days between the initial bottom and the final bottom) and the number amounts to 21.19% of the overall duration. If we apply a similar timeframe to today’s move, it implies that a final bottom may have formed on Feb. 12. As a result, the USDX’s long-term upswing could begin as soon as this week.
Also noteworthy, as the USDX approached its final bottom in 2017-2018, gold traded sideways. Today, however, gold is already in a downtrend. From a medium-term perspective, the yellow metal’s behavior is actually more bearish than it was in 2017-2018.
Also supporting the historical analogue, the USD Index’s current breakout above its 50-day moving average is exactly what added gasoline to the USDX’s 2018 fire. Case in point? After the 2018 breakout, the USDX surged back to its previous high. Today, that level is roughly 94.5.
Based on this week’s rally it seems that the final bottom formed on Tuesday (Feb. 16) – just 2 trading days away from the analogy-based target, and in perfect tune with what I wrote back then. The breakout above both: the declining blue line, and the 50-day moving average was verified, and the short-term outlook here is clearly bullish.
But isn’t the current situation similar to what happened in mid-2020? The correction that was followed by another decline?
In a way, it is. In both cases, the USD Index moved higher after a big decline, but that’s about it as far as important similarities are concerned.
What is different is the entire context. Even a single look at the above chart provides an instant answer. The mid-2020 correction was like the mid-2017 correction, and what we see right now is the post-bottom breakout, just as we saw in the first half of 2018.
There are multiple details on the above chart that confirm it, including the sizes of the medium-term declines, the position of the price relative to the declining support/resistance lines, as well as relative to the 50-day moving average, and even the green arrows in the RSI indicator show how similar the preceding action was in case of this indicator. The vertical dashed line shows “where we are right now” in case of the analogy.
Also, the fact that the general stock market has not yet declined in any substantial way only makes the short-term outlook worse (particularly for silver and miners). When stocks do slide, they would be likely to impact the prices of miners and silver particularly strongly.
And please remember, we’re looking for the bottom in the precious metals sector not because we’re the enemy of gold or the precious metals investor . On the contrary, we’re that true friend that tells you if something’s not right, even if it may be unpleasant to hear. We want to buy more and at better prices close to the bottom, and we’ll continue to strive to assist you with that as well.