Friday, July 31, 2020

Gold extremism, fundamentals, and trends - When in doubt, follow the prices

I would like to believe the fundamental stories about the rise in gold prices. Inflation is coming. The dollar is being debased. Real rates are negative. A further economic decline is around the corner. There is excessive debt issuance. All are good stories. All could be true given a focused look at recent data and a strong desire for confirmation of the trend, yet I want to be careful with my judgment. The long-term relationship between economic fundamentals and gold have been tenuous, so care should be taken with extrapolating the gold rise to coincident news.

For example, the link between inflation expectations and gold is somewhat of a head-scratcher. Inflation expectations have fallen since the second half of 2018 albeit the last three months have seen a significant rise. Still, inflation expectations are below levels from 2018. During the same time, gold has moved from 1200 to above 1900.  

However, as a follower of trends as a base position, I have to look to the number one rule of trend-following - when in doubt follow the trend. It could be smart money knows something I don't know. It could be big money has a strong opinion. It could be that small investors are filled with fear.  Does it matter? Price is the information signal and price is the ultimate clarifier.