This week we start a monthlycolumn by Anthony Dass, head of AmBank Research who will be writing on issues
related to the economy and capital markets. With 23 years experience as an
economist, Anthony has deep knowledge of economic matters as well as issues and
policies on Malaysia and other countries in the region. He kicks off the column
THE decision by Britons to leave the European
Union in a referendum on June 23 triggered strong selling across global stock
markets and led to several currencies turning volatile.
uncertainty added with fears for more Brexit-linked tremors has pushed gold
prices up 7% since June 23 and 26% in 2016, to U$1,349 per ounce levels as
global and local investors envisage gold as safe haven.
now, currency and financial market outcomes on the global front are arguably
extreme. Although stocks bounced back on the notion that contagion from Brexit
has been contained after the rout wiped out US$3.6 trillion from equity market,
it remains unclear if the worst is over.
there are still hidden risks lingering in the asset markets.
the US dollar rising as currencies across the globe decline, the US Federal
Reserve, which had signalled four interest-rate hikes for 2016 following its 25
basis-point hike in December, the first in nearly 10 years is unable to do so
now. Brexit raised investors’ perception that the Fed will not raise rates
throughout this year.
fact some are factoring a possible rate cut, while some feel the market is
reading the Fed wrongly and expect a rate hike by December this year. Is the
Fed caught in an interest-rate trap?
and loose monetary policy used to revive the world economy from the 2008 Global
Financial Crisis (GFC) somewhat failed to steer global growth back to the
growth is now at a “new normal” which is lower than the 2008 pre-crisis, partly
affected by slower global productivity growth and displacement of productive
human capital stock.
the potential fear of a domino effect from Brexit, further easing of monetary
policies by the global central banks with the aim to support economic growth is
on the cards.
is increasing possibilities for the Fed to keep interest rates on hold in both
July and September and probably December too.
Bank of England could reduce the policy rate while the European Central Bank
may inject more liquidity.
such cheap and loose monetary policy risk losing its effectiveness especially
if confidence weakens and fears creeps up for another financial crisis in the
waiting. Investors dislike uncertainty, and we already had a lot of global
economics and political uncertainty. Brexit added a lot more.
may induce investors to invest in safer assets. Gold is often one of the few
perceived “safe haven” assets with liquidity. It is not associated or dependent
on any monetary authority or economic policy and so is almost entirely
is likely to persist. Hence, the global currency war will go on with longer
lower rates. These will benefit gold apart from bonds. So gold prices may
continue to rally in the near term with investors’ allocations to gold
continuing to grow.
is still the world’s largest consumer of gold after outpacing India in 2013. In
2015, China consumed 956.7 tonnes of gold, compared to 864.3 tonnes in India.
drop in India’s gold consumption is due to the current government that has been
encouraging people to sell gold and earn better returns, rather than hoard it.
in recent years, due to concerns over India’s rising trade deficits,
policymakers and the Reserve Bank of India had introduced steps to discourage
imports of the yellow metal; the central bank was concerned that gold was a
jewellery demand hit a seven-year-low of 88.4 tonnes in the first quarter of
2016, down by 41% year-on-year. China’s jewellery demand fell by 17.9%
year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016 to 179.4 tonnes.
the drop, we expect the current global uncertainty will see local demand for
gold picking up. There is too much going for gold at the moment.
gold price is likely to average around US$1,300 per ounce for the full year of
2016. That means, gold price per ounce could trade around US$1,400 per ounce.
above US$1,400-US$1,500 per ounce cannot be ruled out, given uncertainties
remain strong added with a strong relationship between uncertainty and
investors that will see a shift towards gold.
gold holders might wish to use the current spike to take profits by selling
the pullback on gold prices, one should buy gold as its price remains strong on
the upside with uncertainty still there. Besides, they should hold onto some
gold since it is not distrustful.
they could buy gold in British pound or euro given the stronger Brexit impact
on these two currencies. But the upside to gold price could be limited by a
stronger US dollar.
after the year-to-date rally, gold price remains about 40% below previous cycle
highs from 2002 to 2011 when gold prices surged 582%.
Dass is head of AmBank Research, AmBank Group.
week we start a monthly column by Anthony Dass, head of Ambank Research who
will be writing on issues related to the economy and capital markets. With 23
years of working experience as an economist, Anthony has deep knowledge of
economic matters as well as issues and policies on Malaysia and other countries
in the region. He kicks off the column on gold.