|Bid||0.0000 x 38800|
|Ask||0.0000 x 40000|
|Day's Range||25.4400 - 25.4700|
|52 Week Range||23.0900 - 25.6700|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Expense Ratio (net)||0.76%|
Have Trump’s Tariffs Helped US Steel’s Pursuit of Greatness? President Donald Trump has resorted to an economic war, using sanctions and tariffs as tools to achieve political and economic ends. The Section 232 tariffs have been used as a bargaining chip to get better trade deals from trading partners.
The current crisis started when Turkish lira plunged and started to pressure other emerging market (EEM) currencies. While the outright sell-off in emerging market currencies has stopped, investors are still worried about the contagion spreading to these countries. The US (SPY)(IVV) interest rates are already moving higher with the Federal Reserve on the path of even more hikes in the quarters ahead.
The US dollar’s (UUP) strength has been the primary reason for gold’s weakness in 2018. The dollar has been gaining against the euro as the region grapples with its economic and political woes.
Gold prices (GLD) haven’t been able to catch a break even as geopolitical concerns become more pronounced. On August 15, gold prices fell to a 19-month low of $1,173 per ounce as the US dollar continued its winning streak. Despite the trade war concerns, the political and economic tensions in the EU (European Union) (HEDJ), and Turkey’s (TUR) latest currency and economic crisis, gold has behaved like any other risk asset and not gained any bids.
Fund managers have increased their average cash balance from 4.7% to 5.0% in August. The current level of cash holdings is well above the ten-year average of 4.5%.
US retail sales rose 0.5% sequentially in July against expectations of just a 0.1% increase. On an annual basis, the retail sales in July grew by 6.4%. The core retail sales (XRT), which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials, and food services, grew by 0.5% in July.
As we’ve discussed previously in this series, the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD) has fallen ~8.0% year-to-date and ~11.0% from its April peak. Historically, gold prices have declined in the summer months, only to climb in August onward due to the seasonal pattern of demand for gold. Physical gold demand from Asian countries such as India supports its price after that.
The budget balance is the difference between what a country’s government garners from taxes and other sources and what it spends. The US (SPY)(IVT) budget deficit is creeping up. The administration expects annual budget deficits to rise ~$100.0 billion more than what was previously forecast for each of the next three years.
A currency crisis is currently rattling the world markets. Today, the Turkish lira (TUR) has plunged 20% against the US dollar (UUP), bringing its YTD (year-to-date) fall to 42%. The markets fear that this will spread to other regions, especially emerging markets (EEM).
The Federal Reserve’s tighter policy stance has also stalled gold’s rally. The Federal Reserve, the world’s major central bank, is raising rates in contrast to the rest of the world’s central banks, which are still following a loose monetary policy. For the week ended August 3, speculators were net long on the US dollar for the seventh straight week.
Gold prices (IAU) have been on an almost one-way downward trajectory since mid-April. Although the Federal Reserve didn’t raise rates during its August meeting as was widely expected, it sounded more bullish on the US economy (SPY)(DIA). The Fed was also upbeat on household spending and business fixed investment in the US.
The S&P 500 fell ~0.1% to 2,813.36 on August 1. President Trump proposed a tariff rate increase on $200 billion worth of goods imported from China to 25% from 10%. The intensifying trade war pressured the S&P 500. In response, China said it would take strict counter measures. However, strong second-quarter earnings results of ~23.3% year-over-year could drive the S&P 500 higher in the coming weeks.
The US Dollar Index rose ~0.2% to ~94.5 on July 31. The Power Shares DB US Dollar Bullish ETF (UUP) seeks to track the US Dollar Index’s performance. UUP rose 0.2% to $24.98 on July 31.
The US Dollar Index fell ~0.1% to ~94.6 on July 24, while September WTI oil futures rose 0.93% to $68.52 per barrel on the same day. The depreciating US Dollar Index supported oil prices on July 24.
Fresh Sell-Off Hits Gold: Is $1,200 the Next Stop? Investors, market participants, and analysts have been puzzled by gold’s weakness in recent months despite escalating trade war tensions and geopolitical risks. The Fed’s aggressive stance on interest rate hikes has also been weighing on gold.
In an interview with CNBC on July 19, President Trump said that he wasn’t “thrilled” about the Fed raising the rates. He said, “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.” Usually, presidents don’t interfere or comment on the Fed’s decisions. The market knows President Trump’s views on interest rates.
Fresh Sell-Off Hits Gold: Is $1,200 the Next Stop? In the previous part, we discussed how gold prices lost ~1% following Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s strong outlook for US economic growth and his conviction in the gradual rate hike path. Gold fell ~0.43% on July 19 and ended the day at $1,218 per ounce.
Presidents rarely criticize the Federal Reserve while they are in office, but Donald Trump has never been one to follow Washington conventions. On Thursday, Trump addressed the Fed interest rate hikes in 2018 in an interview with CNBC, and the market reaction shows investors were listening. What Happened? After praising newly appointed Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Trump pushed back on Powell's policies.
A net -11% of respondents in the BAML (Bank of America Merrill Lynch) July survey expect faster economic growth over the next 12 months, which is the lowest since February 2016. At the start of 2018, a net 40% of polled fund managers expected faster economic growth in the next year. While it is very difficult to pinpoint a turning point in the economic cycle, the consensus is generally growing that we are in the late stage of the economic cycle, which typically precedes a recession.