Bearish Analysts’ Sentiments and Realized Gold Outflows Weigh Down Prices
The U.S. Comex gold futures fell 3.46 percent week-to-Thursday to
$1,386.90, just $64 above the worst level reached in mid-April this
year. Year-to-date, the gold futures dropped 17.24 percent, compared to
a rise of 15.73 percent in the S&P 500 Index, 6.48 percent in the
Euro Stoxx 50 index and 12.66 percent in the MSCI Developed World Index.
The Dollar Index is also up 4.79 percent this year.
Softer Economic News but Higher Stock Prices
While Japan’s Q1 real GDP, driven by higher private consumption, jumped a
higher-than-expected 3.5 percent, the Euro-area’s April inflation rate
dropped to a three-year low to 1.2 percent while the Q1 real GDP
declined 0.2 percent, its sixth quarter of contraction. The weekly
jobless claims in the U.S. increased by 32,000 to 360,000. The
Philadelphia Fed index and the New York’s manufacturing survey also
unexpectedly contracted as the fiscal cuts have taken effect.
Nevertheless, about 39 percent of the stocks in the S&P 500 Index
reached their 52-week high according to Bloomberg. The Japanese Nikkei
Index is also approaching a five-year high. The strength of the stock
markets has surprised many investors who are still under-allocated to
equities and are skeptical of the economic future.
Gold-Backed ETP Holdings Continued to Drop
As inflation is low and equity markets are rising, gold-backed ETP
investors have been rotating out of gold. The SPDR Gold Trust holdings
dropped to a four-year low to 1,041 metric tons yesterday after reports
show that investors such as Soros, Northern Trust and BlackRock have cut
their holdings between 12 to more than 50 percent in Q1. Credit Suisse
predicted that gold will trade at $1,100 next year, citing that gold is
relatively expensive compared to other hard commodities. The World
Gold Council reported that while gold-backed ETPs dropped 176.9 tonnes
in Q1, total bar and coin demand surged 10 percent from a year ago to
377.7 tonnes while jewellery demand climbed 12 percent to 551 tonnes.
Central Banks continued to add gold by over 100 tonnes for the seventh
consecutive quarter. The tug of war between the physical buyers and the
paper gold investors will likely continue.
What to Watch Next Week
Next week, various U.S. regional Fed Presidents will speak about the
economy on 20, 21 and 23 of May. On 22 May, Japan will announce its
Target rate, Ben Bernanke will make his testimony and the latest US FOMC
minutes will be released. The U.S., Euro-17 and China will release the
flash manufacturing PMI index for May on 23 May. Germany will report
its IFO business climate index on 24 May.
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