Overnight Sentiment: Gold Rout Halted For Now

Yes, there was economic news overnight, such as a Eurozone and UK CPI, both of which came in line with expectations (1.7% and 0.4% respectively), and a German ZEW which confirmed Europe's accelerating deterioration, tumbling from 48.5 to 36.3, far below expectations of a 41.0 print (somehow the huge miss has managed to push the EURUSD up by 60 pips to an overnight high of 1.31 but this is merely the pre-US open manipulation to ramp US equities higher), just as there was news that Angela Merkel's support for a Cyprus bailout is growing (was there an alternative?), and that as part of their ongoing investigation into Italy's repeatedly insolvent Monte Paschi, investigators had seized €1.8 billion worth of assets from Nomura Holdings, and that Spain as usual sold more Bills than expected, driven by oversize Japanese and Pension Fund purchases, but what everyone has been looking for is whether the relentless and record rout in gold is over. For now, it appears that is the case, with gold printing an overnight low of just over $1320 and ramping higher ever since, up 3% so far and rising.

Amusingly, Goldman was stopped out on yet another trade overnight, this time its Commodity Carry Basket which hit the firm's -6% stop loss signal, and yet even with gold crossing Goldman's target, the firm has so far refused to close out its position:

Although gold has now traded below the $1,450/toz target embedded in our short recommendation, we are maintaining our short as we argued last week that prices could decline more than we initially thought as positioning is stretched and the momentum is to the downside. The most recent ETF holdings showed acceleration in the liquidation of length, which points to a broad-based sell-off extending beyond the futures markets with potentially more room to go. As a result, we are now lowering the stop to $1,400/toz (which locks in a potential gain of 12%) while we wait for evidence of a bottom, though we are not changing our price forecasts now.

Looks like Goldman has much more gold to buy from its muppets, who continue being routed on the firm's various other trading recos with realized losses.

Below are some other fresh overnight view on gold:

Credit Suisse:

  • The price is now not far from the level CS’s technical analysts identify as the next key area of support: $1,310
  • Next key level is $1,156, then $1,122; Beyond that, $1,000


  • Factors affecting the metal: April 10th FOMC minutes showed some members favor an early end to QE, a shift out of commodities into equities and bonds, ongoing gold ETF liquidation and reduction in net longs on the Comex
  • Price break of $1,525/oz followed by $1,500/oz at the end of last week were important technical support and psychological levels
  • Of the top 20, 17 of the biggest drops occurred during the 1970s and 1980s; this daily drop is the biggest for 20 years with the next biggest occurring in Oct. 2008 at the height of the financial crisis
  • Expects “slow grind” higher


  • Gold is the key sentiment setter among commodities; price moves appear to be the result of a concerted short sale by funds trading futures
  • Seems to have been a series of drivers behind collapse; key has been the potential for an end to QE in U.S.
  • Will be a while before there can be a strong rally;  would require a big policy mistake from a major central bank to reignite anti-dollar sentiment


  • Although risks still skewed to downside, an attractive entry opportunity is unfolding, especially if gold consolidates around next technical support level near $1,250/oz
  • Recent selloff is an exaggeration; sales of ETFs have unwound almost all of the eurozone crisis buying seen in 2012


  • Longer term fundamentals remain unchanged
  • Gold likely to bounce in 2H and move slowly upward as inevitable further monetary easing comes to play


  • Collapse represents “an extreme capitulation”
  • Investment case remains fundamentally unchanged


Finally, both the bank of Sri Lanka, and the Azeri oil fund thanked whoever was selling the paper gold, saying the drop represents a buying opportunity and both would continue to capitalize on the cheap physical prices.

Looking at the day ahead, in terms of perfectly irrelevant fundamentals which no longer move any risk assets, we have housing starts, permits, industrial production and CPI. Large caps including Cocacola, Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson will be reporting earnings before the opening bell, followed by Yahoo and Intel who report after the US market closes.


Key macro observations from SocGen:

Markets retain full confidence in central banks to soothe the path to economic recovery, but this did not halt the correction across risk assets from deepening yesterday on a variety of factors which brought commodties crashing down to earth. Is China’s growth slowdown turning into a bigger scare for global demand?

The Fed is still moving towards an exit strategy, but the timescales remain highly uncertain. The latest US economic indicators have disappointed, holding back any sense of urgency to start tapering bond purchases. Today’s housing market and industrial production data are expected to point in the same direction.

The BoJ is on the offensive and the question is how much further the JPY will fall. SG strategists cut their 1y USD/JPY projection from 103 to 110. Sudden moves in both the USD/JPY and EUR/JPY since the 4 April meeting prompted a pause at the beginning of the week. This was also fuelled by lower-than-expected Q1 2013 Chinese GDP. Nevertheless, the downward trend in the JPY is clearly under way and a positive outcome for US housing construction and production data today should put USD/JPY back on track for a test of 100.00. The ECB is also accommodative and further policy easing has not be ruled out: a weak German ZEW index today will boost expectations of central bank stimulus. Draghi will testify to the EP today. The BoE may well be the G4 central bank with the toughest policy challenge as CPI continues to deviate from the target, growth is lackkustre  and credit demand weak. Another increase in CPI is on the cards today.

Overall, G4 central banks remain very prudent, leaving the markets overflowing with liquidity, which will underpin the search for yield in the short term. Any easing in US yields, weakening in the AUD, downturn in the USD/JPY or upturn in the EUR/USD will offer opportunities to position on medium-term directional coverage strategies on long US rates, an upturn in the USD/JPY or a downturn in the EUR/USD.

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The full overnight summary from Deutsche's Jim Reid:

Markets were already having a difficult day prior to the Boston explosions with Gold in crash territory (more below). The S&P 500 was already down 1.4% prior to the explosions but closed -2.3% as the magnitude of the events became clear. The big move of the day was the one that saw the Gold market crash as it fell 9.1% to $1348/oz. This is the 5th largest daily fall since the US suspended the convertibility of the Dollar into Gold in 1971, the point which heralded the move from a Gold based global monetary system to a Fiat based one. It was also the largest single daily fall since the 28th of February 1983.

Over the last two sessions, gold has fallen 13.7% which also makes it also the 5th largest two-day fall since Bloomberg records began in 1920. So what’s been behind the price move in gold? There has been a lot of talk that the technicals had been skewed in the lead-up to last Friday. Newswires suggest that a number of large gold investors have been forced to unwind following the triggering of stops in the $1400-1500/oz range and that several brokers who were caught long have been forced sellers in the last couple of sessions. The WSJ reported that more than $1bn flowed out of physical gold ETF, SPDR Gold Trust, on Friday marking the third-largest outflow on record since the fund’s inception in 2004. The SPDR Gold Trust shed nearly 4% or $2.3bn of its assets last week, ending Friday with roughly $57 billion. Trading volume in the SPDR Gold Trust on Monday was running more than 7x the average and was the heaviest on record, topping the previous high set in December 2009. On the macro side, there has been talk of lower Chinese retail demand amid the recent slowdown in domestic growth and the more benign inflation trends seen recently in China. Last week’s report that Cyprus may sell part of its gold reseves to raise an estimated EUR400m for its bailout has also fuelled suggestions that other indebted countries may follow suit. Our commodity strategists write that fundamentally the economic indicators are disappointing in the US and the Fed is cooling on its QE stance – reducing demand for the gold as a hedge. They also note that with marginal industry costs for the gold mining industry at around the USD1,300/oz - the market could see some support around that level if this situation worsens.

Over the past few weeks, gold has also failed to rally despite the events in Cyprus in late March and the BoJ’s announcement of a new monetary easing regime in early April. One would normally expect that the threat of a country leaving the Eurozone, deposit haircuts, capital controls and unprecedented levels of easing by a major central bank, all occurring within a short span of time, would be enough to send gold higher. The fact that it hasn’t was probably disappointing to those who had held gold to hedge against those risks, and suggests that the marginal buyer of gold was already fully exposed. In other news, Citigroup's better than expected earnings ($1.29 vs $1.17 expected) yesterday failed to offset the negative sentiment during the US session. The bank reported sluggish net interest margins and loan demand, echoing similar statements from JPMorgan and Wells Fargo last week in what may be the beginning of a recurring theme for US banks this reporting season. Despite the negatives, Citigroup (+0.2%) was only one of seven S&P500 stocks to finish higher yesterday.

Turning to overnight markets, commodities are having a mixed session with Brent (-1%) continuing to trade weaker but gold (+1.1%) and copper (+0.3%) paring some of the recent losses. The USDJPY and AUDUSD have stabilised at 97.55 and 1.036 respectively following sharp corrections yesterday. In terms of equities, most Asian bourses are around half a percent lower with oil, gas and mining sectors stocks leading the declines. The KOSPI (+0.1%) is outperforming despite a warning from the North Korean military to South Korea that a strike “will start without any notice”. The South Korean government unveiled a 17.3trillion supplementary budget to support exporters who have been pressured by a weaker yen and this is boosting sentiment. Staying in the region, overnight Moody’s affirmed China’s rating of Aa3 but changed its outlook from positive to stable. The rating agency wrote that progress in increasing the transparency of local government debt and reducing credit growth were less than anticipated. The move comes one day after China reported its fourth consecutive quarter of sub-8% GDP growth – the first time this has occurred in two decades, according to Bloomberg data.

We have a busy day ahead with the immediate focus likely to be on the fallout from the tragic events in Boston. On the data front, we have the Italian trade report, Eurozone and UK CPI and the German ZEW survey in Europe. Mario Draghi will be presenting the ECB’s annual report to the European Parliament at 2pm London time. In the US, the data highlights include housing starts, permits, industrial production and CPI. A number of large caps including Cocacola, Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson will be reporting earnings before the opening bell, followed by Yahoo and Intel who report after the US market closes. The IMF publishes its World Economic Outlook and Fiscal Monitor report today, and the Fed’s Janet Yellen will chair a monetary policy panel at the IMF’s Macro Policy conference. The BoE’s Mervyn King will also be participating in the discussion.