The recent plunge in gold prices below $1500 an ounce has suddenly awoken, well, just about everyone. The “gold bugs” are yelling that it is a conspiracy theory by the Fed while the stock market bulls say it is a sign that the Fed has achieved its goal of creating economic growth. Unfortunately, both arguments, while great for headlines, are wrong…The simple truth is that gold is completing a journey that it began nearly two years ago which can be summed up in four words: “Reversion To The Mean.” [Let me explain.]
So writes Lance Roberts (www.streettalklive.com) in edited excerpts from his original article* entitled The Gold Crash – What it’s not Telling us as first posted on PragmaticCapitalism.com.
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The article may have been edited ([ ]), abridged (…) and/or reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read.
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Roberts goes on to say in further edited excerpts:
In August of 2011, during the original debt ceiling debate, gold spiked sharply to just a tad over $1800 an ounce and in my weekly missive that month I…[stated that]: “Gold is currently in what is known as a ‘Parabolic Spike’. These do not end well typically as it represents a ‘panic’ buying spree and, therefore, if you currently OWN gold, I would recommend beginning to take some profits in it.” At that time I [presented] four potential levels of retracement.
The advice at that time fell on deaf ears as investors feared that the government was going to default on its debt and the economy was going to plunged back into a deep recession.
The Process of Price Reversion
Anyone paying attention to the 10-year treasury rate, as it plunged to then record lows, would have understood, however, that a default was not going to be the case. The debt ceiling was eventually raised and disaster postponed due to last minute negotiations. The release of that fear, and subsequent interventions by Central Banks globally, led to a rotation out of the fear trade which began the process of a gold price reversion.
Parabolic spikes in asset prices always lead to price reversions. Whether it is gold, oil, or the price of Apple stock – excesses to one extreme lead to excesses in the other. It is often in the final leg of this reversion process that investors “give up” on the previous long held beliefs and throw in the towel. This action is known as “capitulation” and tends to be a buying opportunity for astute investors at some point.
The chart below shows the long term price of gold relative to the percentage deviation in price from gold’s 34-week moving average.
As shown – the current deviation is the largest since the early 1980′s as Reagan and Volker set out to break the back of inflation and spur economic growth. Deviations of this magnitude are generally met with fairly sharp positive price corrections from such extreme oversold conditions.[As] I have noted on the chart above, the three previous times…negative deviations were roughly 20% or larger. The difference this time, as opposed to the 80-90′s, is that the economy is not about to launch into a sustained rate of organic growth driven by falling interest rates and inflation. In fact, all of the recent economic data, as shown by the composite economic index below, shows quite the opposite.
…[R]eadings below 30 on this composite index have generally been associated with recessions in the past. This is why the idea that the drop in gold prices is due to a burgeoning economic outlook is short-sighted. There is no evidence of such being the case. Take a look at the annual rate of change in personal consumption expenditures which makes up 70% of the gross domestic product report.
The economy, along with housing, has been supported by massive interventions by the Federal Reserve, artificially low interest rates and fiscal policies to stabilize the economy. Without these supports there would be no economic growth at all. However, even with all of those supports, economic strength is struggling currently.
Therefore, gold is not selling off due to any belief that an organic economic recovery is underway. That concept is just as far-fetched as the Federal Reserve conspiracy theories that have abounded in the blogosphere as of late. The simple truth is that gold is completing a journey that it began nearly two years ago which can be summed up in four words: “Reversion To The Mean.”
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As we have discussed previously using the example of a rubber band – physics state that if we stretch a band as far as possible in one direction, when released, it will travel beyond the mean. The same is true from over extensions in the financial markets.
The chart below shows the price of gold and the times that it has reach 3-standard deviations above the 34-week moving average. Such extensions have always led to reversions in price. The bigger the extension has been on the upside the bigger the reversion has been.
The current correction is well within the normalcy of extreme price movements. It also suggests that the current correction is likely closer to its end than its beginning.
There are plenty of signs that tell us that the global economy is not getting stronger but quite the opposite. Commodities are weak, interest rates are falling and economic activity is slowing. While gold is currently selling off sharply it isn’t because the global economic intervention experiment has worked – it is more of a function of tax related selling, margin calls and short term market dynamics. These will pass in fairly short order.
In the meantime – the real concern for investors should not be the fall of gold – but the overall stock market. With investors fully allocated to the markets – the lurking correction therein is potentially far more dangerous to portfolios than the current fall in gold simply due to weighting differences. The decline in interest rates is telling a much different story than what economists and analysts are currently predicting as shown in the chart above.
With earnings season in full swing my suspicion is that, even with earnings hurdles moved substantially lower in recent weeks, it may not be enough to offset the softening global economy… Maybe this is what gold, commodities and interest rates are really telling us.
Editor’s Note: The author’s views and conclusions in the above article are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original post. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor.
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Everyone personally holding physical gold and silver, as we have been recommending, has no margin call to meet and no reason to sell. This is a temporary situation, and it will pass. Now is not the time to panic, as that is the intent of the central planners/bankers in forcing gold and silver through strong support levels. Stay the course. To the extent you can, continue buying the physical metal.
What happened?! is the question so many are asking about Friday’s waterfall in prices. A better question is, “Why?” Outside of the insiders, no one really knows. Yes, there can be some fairly cogent explanations, lots of glib answers, but no one knows, for sure. What we do know for sure is that the market is always the final arbiter [and this is what the market is saying:]
The paper gold market is being used to shake the bullish tree harder this time than any time before because of what is to come. Fear is the most powerful emotion in markets and it is being used perfectly to enrich the grand names of finance at your expense. We are right in front of that time when the market performs a classic bottom both in shares and physical. From this point gold is going to and through $3500 [so] if you are unable to buy at this time there is one thing you can do – to get into the fight and out of the stands. That act is do nothing, and do not capitulate. Let them play the price game, but give them nothing whatsoever of yours. Words: 758
By its obvious and concerted attack on gold and silver, the U.S. government could not give any clearer warning that trouble is approaching. The values of the dollar and of financial assets denominated in dollars are in doubt. For Americans, financial and economic Armageddon might be close at hand….
David Mcalvany (www.mcalvany.com) covers the reasons behind the major pullback in metals on April 12, and where they may go from here, in this most enlightening and re-assuring 8:14 minute video.
I have no problem with corrections in general, as they are a healthy part of any bull market and provide a platform from the which the next upleg can spring but something is not quite right about the recent price action in precious metals as the markets have become increasingly divorced from reality over the past few months. Let’s look at some of the glaring contradictions and then discuss the implications.
If central banks are preparing for a major change in the value of the dollar, shouldn’t we? The US dollar cannot and will not survive the ongoing abuse heaped upon it by government planners and federal officials. That not only means the gold price will rise, but that many, if not most currencies, will lose a significant amount of purchasing power. This has direct implications for all of us.
In my article of April 5th, posted here, I maintained that in the next year, and particularly for the next three to six months, a liquidation phase in the current cyclical bear market in gold would likely develop,,,[causing gold to] fall sharply. [Below are the 8 reasons I mentioned back then which still remain relevant today.]
Don’t be fooled [by] the majority of investors getting caught up in this manipulated panic selling [of] their gold and silver mining shares for pennies on the dollar to chase the overbought equities. [You] could be capitulating at exactly the wrong time as this panic cannot continue for much longer.
There will come a time, and based on current charts no one knows when, that prices for gold and silver will become prohibitive and/or governments will do what they can to inhibit (steal) ownership, maybe even making it criminal to own or use in transactions. [That being the case we advocate that you go “get”] physical gold and silver [while the getting is good], consistently and at any price. The point here is not to “make money,” but to preserve and/or create wealth. [Let me explain.]
Out of this doom and gloom, there are opportunities – major opportunities! Fear has taken over the stocks of the TSX Venture and the last time that happened, it was the greatest buying opportunity of our lifetime. So it is now. If you want to buy low, and later sell high, the bargains are now waiting to be plucked. How jealous everyone would be if you had the foresight to buy when prices were so cheap. So, what are you waiting for?