Until gold’s recent rapid appreciation, rising about 8% in four weeks, writing obituaries for the yellow metal has been a full-time job in the financial commentariat.
Indeed, the recent spike in price has not yet removed gold from official bear territory. The precious metal is down a tad more than 20% year to date, and before the spike, had fallen over 26% in the first half. The two brutal quarters, combined perhaps with buyers’ fatigue after 12 consecutive years of rising prices, all on top of renewed hopes for a recovering economy all likely played a role in writing off gold.
But gold’s steady climb in recent weeks is leading to the fresh analyses as to whether the market is merely taking a breather from its frenzied selling or whether a renewed advance is afoot.
Two new analyses argue for a revival in gold, but from different perspectives, one based on technical indicators and the other more broadly economic.
Asbury Research, which provides investment guidance to hedge funds and other professional investors adduces technical indicators to argue that gold is going back up. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based firm notes that commercial enterprises who make their living from gold tend to hedge gold prices. These “commercial hedgers” aren’t looking for huge price gains—rather, they are looking to smooth out their profits by taking the other side of gold trades through short contracts.
Yet today commercial hedgers are net short a miniscule 19,041 contracts, a blip on Asbury’s chart not seen since January 2002, as gold was just beginning its long journey towards more than quadrupling in price.
“These commercials, a.k.a. the ‘smart money,’ are collectively the least bearish (read most bullish) on gold prices that they have been since January 2002,” the Asbury Research report concludes.