Gold News

Comex Betting on Gold Price +160% as US Debt Ceiling 'Risks Blocking' Fed QE Unwind

GOLD PRICES held below Friday's 7-week closing high near $1270 per ounce in Asian and London trade Monday, edging back as the US Dollar rallied from 30-month lows versus the Euro currency despite news of stronger than expected jobs growth and inflation across the 19-nation union.
 
Silver rose to set new 5-week highs at $16.88 per ounce while commodities held flat overall.
 
World stock markets edged higher as major government bond prices slipped, nudging 10-year US, German and UK bond yields 0.01 percentage point higher.
 
New US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin told lawmakers leaving Washington for the summer recess on Friday that they have until 29 September to agree a rise in the US government's legal debt ceiling or risk a shutdown in key departments.
 
Neither the House nor the Senate are now in session until Tuesday 5 September, giving just 2 weeks of business time after they return from holiday.
 
Nearing $20 trillion, US federal debt has grown by one-third since the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, when ratings agency S&P downgraded Washington's standing from 'risk free' AAA for the first time – a move yet to be reversed – and Dollar gold prices jumped towards their current all-time record highs above $1900 per ounce.
 
Chart of US Federal debt, year-on-year change vs. gold priced in Dollars
 
"Look at how the Dollar moved up when it was felt that the Trump election was going to lead to happy days again," says John Snow, Treasury secretary under George W.Bush and now chairman of asset manager Cerberus Capital.
 
"[Today] it looks like the administration's ability to get things done, like infrastructure spending and tax reform and health-care reform, are not being realized."
 
"This is an administration that has shown it can't get anything done. Absolutely nothing," the FT today quotes Mark Zandi, chief economist at S&P competitor Moodys Analytics.
 
Looking at the Federal Reserve's plans for start unwinding its $4.5 trillion QE holdings of US Treasury and other bonds as soon as its September meeting, "The biggest risk is the debt limit and any tightening of financial conditions," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch rates strategist Mark Cabana last week.
 
Betting on the US central bank keeping its key Fed Funds rate below 1.25% until the start of 2018 has jumped over the last month, raising probability implied by interest-rate futures contracts from 39% to 54% according to data from the CME Group.
 
Betting on gold prices rising last week leapt 160% net of bearish bets amongst the 'Managed Money' category of Comex traders, data from US regulator the CFTC showed Friday.
Chart of net speculative betting by Managed Money and the 'non-reportables' category in Comex gold futures and options. Source: BullionVault via CFTC
 
The fastest increase since January 2016 in the net long position of hedge funds and other money managers, it took that category's overall bullish betting back to the strongest level since late June, reversing the previous 4 weeks' drop to the smallest level in almost 18 months.
 
Over the last 11 years of available data, the net speculative long position of Money Managers in Comex gold futures and options has shown an average weekly correlation of 0.74 with gold priced in Dollars – highly significant on a statistical basis.
 
That figure would read 1.00 if they moved perfectly together, or -1.00 if they moved exactly opposite.

Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the world-leading physical gold, silver and platinum market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and he has now been researching and writing daily analysis of precious metals and the wider financial markets for over 20 years. A frequent guest on BBC radio and television, Adrian is regularly quoted by the Financial Times, MarketWatch and many other respected news outlets, and his views from inside the bullion market have been sought by the Economist magazine, CNBC, Bloomberg, Germany's Handelsblatt and FAZ, plus Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

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