Fifth time's the charm...
(Kitco News) - I was once told that what gold does best is it frustrates gold investors, and that sentiment is as true today as it was years ago when I first heard it.
Since mid-July, the gold market has tested resistance at $1,830 an ounce and has failed to hold those gains three times. This past week's failed follow-through now makes it four. Last week, it looked like the market had turned after a dismal summer and was finally attracting some bullish attention.
Disappointing employment numbers in the U.S. drove gold prices to a one-month high and right into a brick wall. After the long weekend, gold opened lower Tuesday and never looked back. The precious metal is now ending the week below $1,800 an ounce.
Although there is some support in the market, there is a growing concern that gold's inability to maintain any bullish momentum could start to attract short sellers and push prices back to the August lows below $1,700 an ounce.
It is easy to understand why the gold market has been lackluster; you just have to look at equity markets. According to some market analysts, with equity markets in a strong uptrend, moving from one record high to another, many investors see little reason to hold a safe-haven asset like gold.
We can see a lack of safe-haven demand in bond markets, as well as 10-year yields, push back above 1.3%.
However, this faith in equity markets feels very misplaced. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the global economy, but investors are choosing to ignore it. For example, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen came out earlier this week and said that the U.S. could default on its debt obligations next month.
"Once all available measures and cash on hand are fully exhausted, the United States of America would be unable to meet its obligations for the first time in our history," she wrote in a letter to Congress. "The Treasury Department is not able to provide a specific estimate of how long the extraordinary measures will last. However, based on our best and most recent information, the most likely outcome is that cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted during the month of October."
In previous years, a warning like that would have created near panic and headlines around the world. It feels like this is not even a blip on the radar for investors. It just feels like there is a growing risk of a policy mistake.
Finally, let's not forget about the ongoing inflation threat. This morning U.S. Labor Department reported an 8.3% annual rise in its Producer Price Index (PPI). This is a new record high for the index.
It could be only a matter of time before investors wake up to the growing risks in the marketplace, but until then, gold will remain in a slumber.
Have a great weekend.