Gold witnessing the silence before the storm

Gold prices have continued trading in a quiet manner, unable to break the narrow range that has been established in recent weeks.
Recently prices have remained stuck- between $1282 and $1307 – for three weeks now, as risk-off developments that would typically raise demand for the precious metal were counterbalanced by a strengthening dollar. Gold – which is priced in dollars – tends to weaken when the US currency appreciates, as it becomes more expensive for investors using foreign currencies to buy it.

There seems to be a determined effort to prevent the gold price from moving back above US$1,300 with the movement in the U.S. dollar up or down – which usually has an almost instantaneous effect on the price of the yellow metal

There are too many debatable geopolitical issues about to happen, any one of which could trigger a substantial gold price rally

NORTH KOREA- The summit between US and North Korea is back on the agenda for next week, and although it may only produce symbolical results, that still bodes well for market sentiment in the sense that the risk of military confrontation is decreasing.
If this happens, we still can’t see the U.S. nuking North Korea, nor the latter attacking U.S. Territories or its allies. The potential fallout is too extreme. Nor do we think the U.S., for all its military might, would contemplate a ground war. The North Korean army is too strong and the potential for unacceptable losses on the American side is too high. So yet another contentious impasse will likely result but with a return to the escalation in tensions which could be the trigger to set the gold price alight.
But even if Presidents Trump and Kim Jong Un do reach some kind of verbal agreement there are plenty of other imminent flashpoints out there.

ITALY- In politics, Italy grabbed the spotlight for a few days, but that storm seems to have passed for now. Markets calmed down after the nation finally formed a government, avoiding the scenario of early elections, something that was being framed as an implicit referendum on the euro, with investor anxiety around that prospect sending shock waves across risk assets globally.

RUSSIA- Russia which may well have a military armoury to match, or even exceed, that of the U.S. has remained aloof from what might be seen as military provocation by the U.S. and its allies. To perhaps calm things down a little may have prompted President Trump’s call, for Russia to be re-admitted to the global summit meetings – returning the G7 to a G8, although this was rejected by the other G7 members, but could yet be seen as a preliminary move to try and ease tensions.

If this happens, we still can’t see the U.S. nuking North Korea, nor the latter attacking U.S. Territories or its allies. The potential fallout is too extreme. Nor do we think the U.S., for all its military might, would contemplate a ground war. The North Korean army is too strong and the potential for unacceptable losses on the American side is too high. So yet another contentious impasse will likely result but with a return to the escalation in tensions which could be the trigger to set the gold price alight.
But even if Presidents Trump and Kim Jong Un do reach some kind of verbal agreement there are plenty of other imminent flashpoints out there.

CHINA- Looking at recent developments, the global trade outlook has grown even more uncertain, and the situation looks likely to deteriorate further before it improves. Whereas things were looking rosy a couple of weeks ago, with the US and China citing progress in talks and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin saying “we are putting the trade war on hold”, the White House soon ‘ruined the party’ by announcing it is considering $50bn worth of tariffs on Chinese goods. The US will announce on June 15 which products will be targeted. Unless the US backs off by then, China is likely to strike back with its own measures in tit-for-tat fashion, reigniting concerns that this could spiral into an actual trade war and potentially triggering another round of risk aversion.

Given signals of a weaker US dollar, U.S. debt, and positive physical demand, it’s only a matter of time until gold breaks above $1,300 an ounce and climbs to $1,400 and gold, which is traditionally viewed as a safe-haven asset in times of economic weakness, should gain its shine again as the current economic cycle reaches its late stages and with expectations that the equity bull market is coming to an end.
While the geopolitical arena seems to be posing less of a risk for markets, developments around global trade have not been as encouraging, leaving investors with little motivation to alter their exposure to havens like gold. That might change soon though, depending on how the US-North Korea summit and the upcoming Fed meeting play out, alongside whether the White House will finally impose another round of tariffs on China.

Whether gold has been weak because of a stronger dollar, a seeming easing of immediate geopolitical tensions, U.S. Fed interest rate moves, seeming strength in the U.S. economy, or due to continuing moves to suppress the price by the powers that be as some would have it, the bears are currently taking advantage, but this could turn around quickly should any of the stronger potential geopolitical issues blow up in our face.

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