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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Gold Market Could See Major Breakout

Brexit troubles could help clear the path for gold to reach $1,400 an ounce by year's end.

Gold prices have remained virtually unchanged over the past week, even as a surprisingly optimistic jobs report gave the stock market some much-needed breathing room. According to a recent article by Kitco, however, the lack of any real price movement in the gold market may represent a calm before the storm, one that could end in a major breakout.

Gold’s price invariably thrives during times of geopolitical strife, writes Kitco, and there appears to be no shortage of the latter coming from different corners of the globe. Britain's troubles surrounding their exit from the European Union have made the headlines of most outlets in recent days as Theresa May's government appears unable to broker a deal with Brussels.

With the April 12 deadline for a satisfactory agreement fast-approaching, May requested that negotiations be postponed until June 30. According to the article, should the EU dismiss the request, Britain will be forced into a hard exit from the alliance, which could have numerous dire consequences. These include a devaluation of the sterling and even a potential revision of the Irish border.

Although a Brexit extension could help avoid this scenario, it will further erode the trust of British citizens as their parliament struggles to satisfy Brussels, suggests Kitco. The situation plays into existing tensions in the eurozone, which include Italy's opposition to Brussels' budget terms, an ongoing migrant crisis and an increasingly dovish European Central Bank.

The ECB recently downgraded its growth forecast and placed into question the prospect of hiking interest rates this year. An official announcement is scheduled for next week, and confirmation that rates will remain stationary could provide gold with additional leverage.

On the domestic front, the Federal Reserve's dovish turnaround in March already helped boost gold prices. The minutes from the meeting will be released on Wednesday, and market watchers will be looking to scour the transcript for details on just how far the Fed intends to pull back.

Although a potential U.S.-China trade deal could subdue gold prices in the short term, President Trump said that negotiations will likely last for weeks, leaving investors with little certainty. The culmination of the Mueller probe did little to calm domestic political tensions, and Trump's collision with Russia over Vladimir Putin's support of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is yet another source of concern.

Traders are now waiting for next week's CPI and PPI reports, and Kitco says signs of rising inflation would likely translate to immediate short-term gains in gold prices. Over the longer term, gold should receive plenty of support as equities resume their downtrend, said Ross Strachan, senior commodities economist at Capital Economics.

Combined with weaker growth projections in both the U.S. and Europe, Strachan believes the path has been cleared for gold to reach $1,400 an ounce by year's end.

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