As the destructive effects of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are calculated by global economists, traders in the financial markets are still trying to understand the long-term ramifications of its presence.
Of course, some asset classes have soared while others have lagged. However, recent market trends have shown that our prior precious metals trading forecasts continue moving higher even while U.S. stock markets appear to be on the verge of hitting another record.
In light of this bullish activity in metals, spot gold is trading near its highest levels in nine years and investors holding the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA: GLD) have seen gains of roughly 25% since March 16, 2020.
Gold markets have excelled in volatile economic environments and had multi-week winning streaks in the process, so prospects for sustained global uncertainties suggest that this upward trend could continue for the remainder of this year.
What might be most striking about these recent developments is the fact that the bearish presence has been almost entirely removed from the market. Over the last three months, the SPDR Gold Trust has been propelled by inflows of nearly $11.8 billion and selling pressures reach their highest levels during the early parts of June.
However, the time frames surrounding this period encountered very little selling pressure and this makes it clear that GLD can continue to benefit as a critical safe haven instrument in the event that continued lockdown measures expose deeper weaknesses in the global economy.
We must also consider trends that developed earlier in the year, as significant selling pressures in precious metals markets were more evident during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 media coverage.
Gold fund outflows were most obvious near the middle and end of March. But this bearish activity quickly reversed during the April and May trading periods and the SPDR Gold Trust has ultimately become the beneficiary of roughly $16 billion in net flows over the last six months.
For many analysts, it’s clear that most of these activities have been inspired by events at the macroeconomic level. Across the globe, central bank stimulus has reached excessive levels and it remains easy to see how these activities could generate destructive inflationary trends that leave fiat currencies trading under pressure for extended periods of time.
As a result of recent central bank decisions, asset purchases that have already been pledged by global central banks as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic have reached levels that would have been thought of as inconceivable just a short time ago.
Recent measures undertaken by the European Central Bank have added another $676 billion to its balance sheet and even the Reserve Bank of Australia has urged the government to continue with prior stimulus measures in order to calm uncertainties.
Of course, this is notable because Australia has experienced far fewer casualties related to COVID-19 when compared to the world’s hardest-hit regions. Excessive central bank stimulus across the globe suggests that the market’s deep concerns should be expected to persist and the current prospect of low (or even negative) global interest rates create another element that could support precious metals instruments with high liquidity during the next few quarters.
Changes in interest rates have been widespread and even countries with relatively low COVID-19 infection rates have been forced to adapt monetary policy in ways that should continue to favor precious metals instruments as a preferred safe haven.
From a technical perspective, price behavior in GLD has been well-supported near the mid-130s. Since the end of March, this area has been viewed as a zone of historical support, and re-tests of this price zone can be viewed as a strong bullish signal for those considering new buy positions in the ETF.
Central bank stimulus indicates strong prospects for sustained reductions in global interest rates and this should support the bullish argument for precious metals instruments like the SPDR Gold Trust (which is typically characterized by high levels of liquidity).
For these reasons, precious metals markets have been able to establish a strong winning streak over the last few weeks and sustained economic uncertainties suggest these upward trends are likely to continue for the rest of this year.
Richard Cox is a personal investor with more than two decades of experience in the financial markets. He is a syndicated writer, with works appearing on CNBC, NASDAQ, Economy Watch, Motley Fool, and Wired Magazine.
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