May 6, 2021
It's the job of Jay Powell and the Fed to manage the expectations of people about price pressures. As Bernanke once said, monetary policy is 98% talk. And Powell and company have been doing a lot of talking.
But it's not easy to talk down the price increases that are right in front of our noses everyday. And beyond the supply/demand dynamics that are putting upward pressure on prices, it's perception that can lead to behavior, and behaviors (related to inflation) are what can lead a dangerous spiral. For that reason, the Fed worries about perception.
If you’re buying today, at any prices, because you think price will be higher tomorrow, that's a recipe for an inflationary spiral. The current housing market is a perfect example.
At this stage in the game, I'm not telling you anything you don't know. We all clearly see the move in asset prices.
What hasn't participated, and has been written off as a "has been" trade, is gold. Despite being THE asset that has historically been most favored in times of inflation, gold is actually DOWN year-to-date (down 4%).
Is that a signal that we are wrong about the sustainability of the inflation we're seeing? Unlikely.
What gives with gold, then? It is believed, by many, that gold has been supplanted by cryptocurrency (namely, Bitcoin) — as the new, improved way to hedge against inflation. If that's the case, we are in for some very serious inflation. Bitcoin is up 93% year-to-date.
The people buying bitcoin as an inflation hedge clearly think "this time is different" — that a digital currency will protect their buying power better than gold in a persistently high, if not hyper-inflation scenario. In my 25 years of investing and trading experience, it's often a bad idea to position for "this time is different."
Even so, surely gold should be benefiting from at least some global capital flows on this inflation perception. Remember, it's down year-to-date.
Clearly gold has been a dislocated asset in this market and economic environment.
But that creates an opportunity to see that dislocation corrected.
And we may have seen the signal for gold to start its big catch-up move today.
Gold broke out of an trading range today, trading above $1,800 for the first time since February. This is an important day for anyone that trades gold or gold stocks.
Two observations to note in this chart above: 1) the break above $1,800 and 2) the longer-term trend is UP.
In a world where asset prices are making new highs by the day, you can buy a dip in gold.
For gold, fundamentally, the outlook is strong given the explicit devaluation of cash through unlimited Fed QE and seemingly unlimited deficit spending.
So is the longer-term technical outlook…
This is a classic C-wave (from Elliott Wave theory) here in gold. This technical pattern projects a move up to $2,700.
How do you play it? Get leveraged exposure to gold through gold miners, or track the price of gold through an ETF, like GLD.
Full disclosure, we are long (gold miner) Barrick Gold in our Billionaire's Portfolio.