Marketwatch/William Watts
Why ‘safe haven’ gold and the stock market are now moving the same direction

Gold Bars“Gold is traditionally thought of as a haven asset — a safe port in a storm. But that hasn’t stopped it from rising to a near nine-year high, and within striking distance of its record, even as equities and other assets traditionally viewed as risky remain buoyant as they rebound from the pandemic-inspired selloff suffered earlier this year.

Chalk it up, in part, to opportunity costs. Efforts by global central banks to push down interest rates, which have fallen into negative territory in real, or inflation-adjusted terms, in the U.S. and are outright negative in many parts of the world, mean that investors who hold gold aren’t missing out on the yield they would earn from holding bonds in more usual circumstances.

“As real yields turn negative, opportunity costs for holding non-yielding assets essentially vanish, particularly when viewed through the historical lens of fiat currencies and their purchasing power,” wrote Jeff deGraaf, chairman of Renaissance Macro Research, in a Thursday note.”

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CNBC/Keris Lahiff
Gold is the ‘real bitcoin’: Trader sees new highs ahead for the metal

Boris Schlossberg“Gold topped $1,800 on Wednesday, marking a nearly nine-year high.

Its rally may not be over yet, according to Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management.

“I guess gold is the real bitcoin,” Schlossberg joked on CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. “Ultimately I think what’s happening is the market is taking implicit bets that inflation is starting to pick itself back up, and I think there’s a really good reason why the market thinks so.”

Schlossberg said stimulus from global central banks that has fueled a fiscal expansion is going to make its way into the economy and drive inflation higher. This, then, will encourage central banks to hold rates low.

“Central banks are still going to have to keep rates very, very low, because their first and foremost priority right now in a post-Covid world is to maintain momentum, to maintain expansion as much as possible,” said Schlossberg. “So they’ll suppress interest rates, inflation will go a little bit higher, and of course gold loves nothing more than real interest rates going lower and lower and lower.”

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Reuters/Howard Schneider
U.S. recovery in limbo as retail traffic falls in virus hot spots

Retail Recovery“U.S. states that have driven a record surge in coronavirus cases may now be slipping backward here in their economic recovery, as cellphone data shows retail visits in a clutch of high case-growth locations falling below the rest of the country.

In Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, which had edged ahead of other states during their drive in May to reopen commerce, retail foot traffic has slipped below levels elsewhere, information from data firm Unacast showed.

The data, which covers the period through July 3, is not representative of retail sales. But it does highlight the dilemma many economists and health experts have raised from the earliest days of the outbreak of novel coronavirus: Inattention to health protocols like wearing of masks and social distancing combined with a rush to reopen businesses could lead to worse outcomes for both public health and the economy.

“A mismanaged health crisis across many states means short-term gains will transform into medium-term sluggishness as social distancing relaxation is reversed and virus fear lingers,” Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in an analysis on Thursday. “It’s now evident that the economy is entering Q3 (third quarter) with much less momentum than previously anticipated.””

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Kitco/Anna Golubova
Real rates to drive gold prices higher – TD Securities

“Real rates will ultimately drive gold prices higher, says TD Securities. “The yellow metal is torn between its safe-haven bona fides, which are prompting money managers to sell on risk-on behavior in markets, and its inflation-hedge characteristics, which are driving a swarm of capital to seek refuge in the yellow metal. Ultimately we anticipate that real rates will continue to drive gold prices higher as normalizing inflation expectations and suppressed rates vol provide fuel for the trade,” TD Securities commodity strategists write. In the meantime, silver has the potential to outperform gold, the strategists add. “The industrial-precious silver could outperform — benefiting from both the positive precious metals environment and its industrial characteristics, at a time when its supply may remain constrained,” they said. TD Securities expects the silver market to operate at “full or even above full utilization.””

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