The Isoquants Of Gold

Submitted by mickeyman via The World Complex blog,

Today's plot shows a six-year scatterplot of the gold price (in USD) vs the USDX index.

The blue curves are hyperbolae of a constant level of gold x USDX. I have placed these for two reasons. Firstly, if gold and the USDX are inversely related, then the time-evolution of the scatterplot will follow one of these curves. Secondly, for companies operating gold mines outside of the US, the product of the gold price and the USDX indicates the real price they are getting for their product.

These equal-product curves, or isoquants, appear to be of some importance in constraining the evolution of the gold price over the past six years. Generally speaking, the price tends to migrate along an isoquant for an extended period of time, before jumping up (or down) to another one, typically in only a few weeks.

For much of 2008 the plot is constrained between the 600 and 700 isoquants, but the system shifted to the 800 isoquant in early 2009. The gold price advanced along the 800 isoquant until about October 2009, before shifting up to the 900 isoquant. The system then evolved along the 900 isoquant for a few months, with the gold price falling and USDX rising, until shifting to the 1000 isoquant near mid-2010. The gold price rose along the 1000 isoquant for nearly a year, whereupon it shifted to the 1100 isoquant, and after battling at that level for two months or so, advanced rapidly, ascending above the 1400 isoquant in September 2011.

A major battle was fought between the 1300 and 1400 isoquants until March of 2013, whereupon the system plummeted to the 1000 isoquant--a level at which it has remained since. The yellow circle near the middle of the plot shows the last month where we dipped below the 1000 isoquant; however today we crossed above it again.

For the time being it looks as though the 1000 isoquant will be the line in the sand for the gold-USDX system. For the gold price to go to $1000, the USDX would have to go to 100. Not impossible, but the world would have to be in pretty dire shape for us to see that, methinks. If the USG is successful in debasing the dollar to win the trade war, we might see a little advance in gold, but I'd expect it to follow the 1000 isoquant for the next six months at least.