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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gold to Emerge as an Important Asset for Current Times

Despite a tame month, gold is set to remain a key part of any portfolio.

gold a useful tool for portfolio

Although multiple factors converged to push gold prices lower in April, an article on Financial Express says the metal could still emerge as the year's marquee asset due to the state of the global economy.

Besides temporary relief from geopolitical tensions and a rise in bond yields, a stronger U.S. dollar was also a major contributor to a tame month for gold. After a prolonged decline that raised eyebrows with both domestic and foreign investors, the dollar index finally caught some respite and reversed its trajectory. According to the article, the greenback now sits at multi-week highs, a position largely influenced by the Federal reserve's hawkish stance.

Having left interest rates unchanged during their latest meeting, the Fed nonetheless affirmed their previous forecast for a total of three rate hikes in 2018. Officials also expressed their desire to continue with the monetary tightening for the foreseeable future should current economic conditions persist. And while successive rate hikes are generally seen as negative for gold, there are ways that the metal could reap the benefits from this aggressive policy says the article.

To some, the Fed's current course is analogue to taking away the proverbial punch bowl. Given the loose monetary policy of the last decade, a sudden shift to a more austere approach could shock the laid-back markets. Among the worst to suffer this effect could be the long-soaring stock market states the article, which recently begun to show cracks after seeming invulnerable. The Fed's goal of reducing their balance sheet by $420 billion this year and $600 billion the next could slowly introduce discord into equities. Despite tax cuts and other encouraging developments, 2018 could see investors' optimism dwindle as they wake up to the reality of a lesser money supply.

Inflation expectations could act as another source of gold's strength. The Fed is confident that it can maintain the targeted inflation rate of 2%, and much of their current agenda rests upon it. But many are quick to forget that inflation was moving in the opposite direction for some time, raising concerns that the reversal was achieved too quick. Given that the ideal 2% have already been surpassed, the Fed could find itself struggling to deal with soaring inflation. In this environment, the article says gold would quickly become a most-desired commodity.

The economic tug of war between the U.S. and China will also continue to remind investors that gold is a key part of any portfolio. Despite the seeming calmness in recent weeks, the situation is only beginning to develop, and the leaders of both countries are unlikely to back down. Global growth, industrial metals and energy will all come under attack should the threat of a trade war return.

The article states that this would harm bond yields as investors shun U.S. debt, and the rapid expansion of the latter has already placed the dollar's long-term purchasing power into question.

Regardless of short-term happenings, the ongoing lack of equilibrium in the global economy along with constant geopolitical flare-ups are sure to preserve gold's favor among risk-averse investors.

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