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Is Coronavirus the Black Swan That Takes Gold To-Da-Moon?

Commodities / Gold & Silver 2020 Feb 12, 2020 - 07:11 AM GMT

By: Arkadiusz_Sieron

Commodities

Amid the worries about the coronavirus and its impact on the global economy, the US yield curve has briefly inverted again. Recession, anyone? And what exactly does the inversion imply for the gold market?

Yield Curve Inverts Again

Ooops, it happened again – the yield curve has inverted! Please take a look at the chart below. It shows that at the turn of January and February, the spread between 10-year and 3-month Treasuries has dived below zero once again. It stayed below zero only for a couple of days before moving back into the positive territory. The inversion was shallow as the level of the spread did not plunge below minus 0.4.


Chart 1: Spread between 10-year and 3-month Treasuries from January 1, 2019, to February 5, 2020.

However, the fact that the yield curve has inverted again after the October 2019 normalization, is of great importance. It shows that the underlying forces behind all the 2019 inversions are still in force. It shows that the Fed’s easing of monetary policy did not heal the economy. The US central bank cut interest rates three times in 2019, partially because of the worries about the inversion of the yield curve. Initially, it seemed that these cuts helped, as the yield curve reinverted in October and stabilized in the positive territory for a few months. But now it should be clear that the Fed just postponed the inevitable. We mean here, of course, recession. We still do not know when exactly the next economic crisis comes – other indicators suggest the US economy remains strong – but the latest inversion of the yield curve shows that the recessionary fears are still justified, despite the temporary calming down. But, as we all know, it’s always calm before the storm. 

Coronavirus and Yield Curve

Now, let’s dig deeper into the cause behind the recent inversion of the yield curve. Please take a look at the chart below. As you can see, the yield curve has inverted this time not because of the rise in the short-term interest rates, but because of the drop in the long-term bond yields.

Chart 2: 10-year Treasuries (green line) and 3-month Treasuries (red line) from March 2019 to February 2020.



It show that investors worry about the prospects of the global growth amid the coronavirus outbreak. These concerns about the negative impact of the virus on the world’s trade and pace of economic growth pushed investors from the stock market into safe-haven assets such as the long-term government bonds. After all, the impact on the global economy from the SARS epidemic reached up to $40 billion, according to this research, but as coronavirus is more contagious, its economic costs may be higher.

So, although the short-term interest rates did not spike, which could tighten financial conditions and trigger recession, the inversion of the yield curve is still positive for the gold prices. Investors expect that the growth will slow down or/and that the Fed will cut the federal funds rate again later this year. Indeed, traders bet that the US central bank will deliver one cut in July, but they have also increased their bets on two cuts.

Implications for Gold

When the spread between 10-year and 3-month Treasuries bottomed out, the price of gold jumped above $1,580. And the current fears about coronavirus may support it in the short-term. However, as we wrote on Monday, fears about previous virus outbreaks were overblown in hindsight. Therefore, the current anxiety may be only temporary. The yield curve has already reinverted (but another inversion is probable) while the stock market shook off the fears and rebounded. Hence, don’t necessarily expect gold prices skyrocketing. However, the yellow metal performed greatly in 2019 due to the recessionary fears. So, if they settle in again on a more permanent basis, gold bulls would get an ally.

Thank you.

If you enjoyed the above analysis and would you like to know more about the link between the U.S. economy and the gold market, we invite you to read the August Market Overview report. If you're interested in the detailed price analysis and price projections with targets, we invite you to sign up for our Gold & Silver Trading Alerts . If you're not ready to subscribe at this time, we invite you to sign up for our gold newsletter and stay up-to-date with our latest free articles. It's free and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Arkadiusz Sieron

Sunshine Profits‘ Market Overview Editor

Disclaimer

All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits' associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be a subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski's, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits' employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

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