A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived. However, gold price activity since QE3 has been a warning, and a big one, not cause for victory celebrations.
The last time large speculators were as aggressively buying silver as last week was September 1997. The net long non-commercial positioning in Silver futures, according to the CFTC rose almost 22,000 contracts last week to a 3-month high (which is closing in on the 'longest' since 2005). Gold, not be out-precious'd also saw major buying. Net speculative longs in gold added over 45,000 contracts - the most since July 2005 - lifting net long positions to their highest in 3 months. Perhaps, just perhaps, as Alhambra's Jeffrey Snider notes, this is due to Yellen putting the 'dollar' back on suicide watch.
Episodes of “corrections” are apparently happening more frequently according to BofAML's credit strategist Barnaby Martin and given the extremities of liquidity, profits, technological disruption, regulation, and income inequality, BofAML warns 'gently' that the potential for a cleansing drop in asset prices cannot be dismissed. Most likely catalysts: Consumer, Rates, A-shares, Speculation, High Yield. "We advise selling risk into strength, buying volatility into weakness, advocate higher than normal levels of cash and would add some gold."
A look at the drivers for the week ahead.
The trio of macro-prudential policy, the onset and evolution of shadow banking, and the nebulous concept of financial stability may have become a toxic cocktail which can be instrumental in moving forward the Federal Reserve’s timeline for lift-off zero bound rates. The intuition here is stooped in concepts of volatility and how market structure evolution may contribute or detract from asset volatility. Volatility is the square root of time. Financial repression times time equals volatility. Financial repression and/or macro-prudential policy times time equals the inverse of financial stability. Financial stability inverted equals volatility squared.
Nothing is ever permanent with the QE’s because they were doomed from the start. The “dollar” system can never be refined and remade to its prior station because it was irrevocably broken on August 9, 2007. All that QE’s have done is to create reverberation within the downward channel which may, in the end, only exacerbate the degree of imbalance that weighs on the inevitable shift.
A look ahead into next week's macro forces.
Even before the disappointing US jobs data, we anticipated a downside correction in the dollar after a sharp advance in Q1.
A non-bombastic look at the week ahead in the capital markets.
To be blunt about it, the Federal Reserve under interest rate targeting clearly and artificially shifted the treasury curve toward steepness; they did so as a means to influence investor behavior and, as silly as it sounds, mood. In other words, the yield curve is not made solely out of actual market and fundamental conditions, but of influence from decidedly non-market political action (actually only threats of action that have been forced only since 2007). Given that station, there is no real reason to believe that absolute levels bear any similar resemblance to signals of past function... in other words - waiting for curve inversion as a signal of recession is no longer valid.
Bankers who took up their business in the Square Mile of London’s banking heart could smell the Eurodollars in the air. As Anthony Sampson wrote, “Young British bankers and their foreign counterparts began to earn higher salaries than other bankers. Skyscrapers shot up by the old classic architecture near St. Paul’s Cathedral. Far Eastern and Arabic banks appeared, as did Mercedes and Cadillacs to cart bankers around the thin London streets.” The Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries needed dollars for trade but wanted to avoid adverse US policy by not keeping or borrowing money in the United States. So they stuck funds in the London offices of British and American banks, causing the City of London to grow as a banking center and recoup some prewar financial glory.
Put on the a tin foil hat if you must, but US dollar's rally is resuming after short consolidation phase. I think the rally is only about 1/3 of where it is eventually going.
Funding Markets just called The FOMC's bluff. Policymakers are acting out rational expectations theory or at least how they see it. In other words, their job is not to analyze actual economic conditions, but to condition economic thought toward the end goal. If they convince you that they believe the economy is on track they further believe you will act accordingly (“you” being both investor and economic agent). The more the economy diverges from the “preferred” projection, the more emphatic the cries of “recovery” become. At some point, desperation becomes palpable.
Simple near-term outlook.