Gold's rise over the past few years has been driven by a number of factors. Aside from the unprecedented monetary easing and skepticism over the global financial system in recent years, Morgan Stanley notes that 1) a persistent increase in investment demand, 2) acceleration in producer de-hedging, 3) a decline in net official sector sales, and 4) a persistent failure on the part of the mining companies to respond to the incentive of a steadily rising price and materially lift production; all also impacted gold's premium.
In 2012, gold’s investment premium was driven by investors seeking a safe haven from widespread fears of a hard landing in China, systemic risk to the European single currency posed by the possibility of a Greek default and risks to US recovery posed by the impending Fiscal Cliff and Debt Ceiling. A re-evaluation of gold’s security premium followed from the various mitigations of the numerous risks to global growth.
However, as they note, a decisive break lower heralding the end of the bull market has not appeared and they believe we are about to witness the third installment of the Great Monetary Easing that started to play out when the credit bubble burst five years ago and that the gold bull market will enter its strongest phase.
Decelerating liquidity surprises have limited upside over the past year. With the benefit of hindsight, this sideways trending price pattern appears to be consistent with an environment where upside surprises in central bank liquidity creation and financial market stress have slowly declined. As this has happened, gold has returned to what BCA Research Inc has called its default setting – a tick-for-tick correlation with a range-bound US dollar in TWI terms.
In the past, these periods of particularly strong and close correlation with the USD have proven to be consolidation phases before the next upside gold catalyst has appeared.
But more monetary easing is coming. We are about to witness the third installment of the Great Monetary Easing that started to play out when the credit bubble burst five years ago and the gold bull market entered its strongest phase. This third phase is being driven by central bankers’ concerns over excessive non-yen currency appreciation as Japan works to fight deflation, and worries about a further significant rise in bond yields and the implications for private and public sector debt sustainability. In this environment, the priority of monetary policy is to avoid excessive exchange rate appreciation as the yen continues to depreciate and alleviate the debt burden of the private and public sector. The implicit continuation of low interest rates in an emerging cyclical recovery argues quite strongly, in our view, for a potential upside surprise in central bank liquidity creation, something that in the very recent past has been positive for gold prices.
In these circumstances, we believe that gold has demonstrated considerable technical strength, offers good value at current prices both as an entry level to the trading range between US$1,540/oz and US$1,800/oz and as an option on any remaining upside surprise above this range that might result from the third part of the Great Monetary Easing.
Source: Morgan Stanley