John J Hardy
Saxo Bank’s head of FX strategy John Hardy takes a closer look at trends and moves in today’s forex charts, including EURUSD, USDJPY, AUDUSD, and EURSEK.
Article / 30 April 2018 at 13:42 GMT

Gold challenged by rising dollar, reduced geo-risks for now

Head of Commodity Strategy / Saxo Bank
  • USD turnaround spooks gold traders
  • Dollar gains offset geo-risks, inflation
  • 'Brick wall of resistance continues to cap the upside'

By Ole Hansen

NB: The blue slides are from my latest webinar. Replay can be found here.

Gold continues to drift lower as the market looks to the dollar for direction. The current strength of the dollar, driven by short-covering, rising bond yields and a slowdown in Europe, has rattled a market which previously held a general belief that the greenback would continue to weaken.

Using IMM currency futures as a proxy for the currency market, we find that the non-commercial dollar short position against nine major currencies in recent weeks climbed to a seven-year high before seeing a small retracement last week. 

With more than 80% of the dollar short being against the euro, recent developments – such as a rising yield spread and disappointing economic data from the euro area – have weakened the euro and left USD, at least in the short term, exposed to additional gains and subsequent headwind for commodities, not least gold and silver. 

USD correction risk
An overview of the drivers that tend to set the direction for gold shows how we are seeing no clear direction at this stage. Rising inflation expectations, an overall bullish commodity trend (late-cycle preference for commodities), geopolitical and financial risks are being offset by a rising dollar and rising real-rates. 

Gold drivers

Investment flows are currently mixed with hedge funds reducing longs in response to the lower price while exchange-traded products, mostly used by retail and long-term investors, continue to see demand. The current total holding of 2,341 tonnes is the highest since 2013 when gold traded 12% higher at $1,470/oz. 
Paper investments in gold
The Federal Open market Committee meets on May 2 and although no change is expected so soon after the March rate hike, some nervousness exists – especially with regard to the speed of future rate hikes. As the slide below shows, gold has handled previous rate hikes very well. An accelerated pace of rate hikes may, however, cause some problems... unless the move is driven by expectations of a pick up in stronger-than-expected inflation. 

Impact of FOMC rate hikes
Safe-haven demand has faded in recent weeks, especially after the historic meeting over the weekend between leaders from North and South Korea. The threat of trade war between the US and China and more importantly the US and Iran remains in place and both could quickly reverse the current lack of focus. 

Safe haven demand
A brick wall of resistance continues to cap the upside and multiple failures since 2016 in breaking above an area between $1,365 and $1,375/oz has left the market nervous with the focus once again on finding support. 

The two key levels which will help determine the short-term outlook for gold are $1,300/oz followed by $1,280/oz. The potential success of these two levels in capping the downside at this stage is mostly in the hands of the dollar and its short-.term trajectory, together with news on Iran sanctions from the US with the May 12 deadline looming. 

Spot Gold
Source: Saxo Bank

— Edited by Michael McKenna

Ole Hansen is head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank


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