Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Stock Market January PANIC AI Tech Stocks Buying Opp - Trend Forecast 2022 - 21st Jan 21
How to Get Rich in the MetaVerse - 20th Jan 21
Should you Buy Payment Disruptor Stocks in 2022? - 20th Jan 21
2022 the Year of Smart devices, Electric Vehicles, and AI Startups - 20th Jan 21
Oil Markets More Animated by Geopolitics, Supply, and Demand - 20th Jan 21
WARNING - AI STOCK MARKET CRASH / BEAR SWITCH TRIGGERED! - 19th Jan 22
Fake It Till You Make It: Will Silver’s Motto Work on Gold? - 19th Jan 22
Crude Oil Smashing Stocks - 19th Jan 22
US Stagflation: The Global Risk of 2022 - 19th Jan 22
Stock Market Trend Forecast Early 2022 - Tech Growth Value Stocks Rotation - 18th Jan 22
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Are We Setting Up For A 'Mini-Crash'? - 18th Jan 22
Mobile Sports Betting is on a rise: Here’s why - 18th Jan 22
Exponential AI Stocks Mega-trend - 17th Jan 22
THE NEXT BITCOIN - 17th Jan 22
Gold Price Predictions for 2022 - 17th Jan 22
How Do Debt Relief Services Work To Reduce The Amount You Owe? - 17th Jan 22
RIVIAN IPO Illustrates We are in the Mother of all Stock Market Bubbles - 16th Jan 22
All Market Eyes on Copper - 16th Jan 22
The US Dollar Had a Slip-Up, but Gold Turned a Blind Eye to It - 16th Jan 22
A Stock Market Top for the Ages - 16th Jan 22
FREETRADE - Stock Investing Platform, the Good, Bad and Ugly Review, Free Shares, Cancelled Orders - 15th Jan 22
WD 14tb My Book External Drive Unboxing, Testing and Benchmark Performance Amazon Buy Review - 15th Jan 22
Toyland Ferris Wheel Birthday Fun at Gulliver's Rother Valley UK Theme Park 2022 - 15th Jan 22
What You Should Know About a TailoredPay High Risk Merchant Account - 15th Jan 22
Best Metaverse Tech Stocks Investing for 2022 and Beyond - 14th Jan 22
Gold Price Lagging Inflation - 14th Jan 22
Get Your Startup Idea Up And Running With These 7 Tips - 14th Jan 22
What Happens When Your Flight Gets Cancelled in the UK? - 14th Jan 22
How to Profit from 2022’s Biggest Trend Reversal - 11th Jan 22
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Are We Ready To Drop To 4400SPX? - 11th Jan 22
What's the Role of an Affiliate Marketer? - 11th Jan 22
Essential Things To Know Before You Set Up A Limited Liability Company - 11th Jan 22
NVIDIA THE KING OF THE METAVERSE! - 10th Jan 22
Fiscal and Monetary Cliffs Have Arrived - 10th Jan 22
The Meteoric Rise of Investing in Trading Cards - 10th Jan 22
IBM The REAL Quantum Metaverse STOCK! - 9th Jan 22
WARNING Failing NVME2 M2 SSD Drives Can Prevent Systems From Booting - Corsair MP600 - 9th Jan 22
The Fed’s inflated cake and a ‘quant’ of history - 9th Jan 22
NVME M2 SSD FAILURE WARNING Signs - Corsair MP600 1tb Drive - 9th Jan 22
Meadowhall Sheffield Christmas Lights 2021 Shopping - Before the Switch on - 9th Jan 22
How Does Insurance Work In Europe? Find Out Here - 9th Jan 22
MATTERPORT (MTTR) - DIGITIZING THE REAL WORLD - METAVERSE INVESTING 2022 - 7th Jan 22
Effect of Deflation On The Gold Price - 7th Jan 22
Stock Market 2022 Requires Different Strategies For Traders/Investors - 7th Jan 22
Old Man Winter Will Stimulate Natural Gas and Heating Oil Demand - 7th Jan 22
Is The Lazy Stock Market Bull Strategy Worth Considering? - 7th Jan 22
METAVERSE - NEW LIFE FOR SONY AGEING GAMING GIANT? - 6th Jan 2022
What Elliott Waves Show for Asia Pacific Stock and Financial Markets 2022 - 6th Jan 2022
Why You Should Register Your Company - 6th Jan 2022
4 Ways to Invest in Silver for 2022 - 6th Jan 2022
UNITY (U) - Metaverse Stock Analysis Investing for 2022 and Beyond - 5th Jan 2022
Stock Market Staving Off Risk-Off - 5th Jan 2022
Gold and Silver Still Hungover After New Year’s Eve - 5th Jan 2022
S&P 500 In an Uncharted Territory, But Is Sky the Limit? - 5th Jan 2022

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Gold and Gibson's Paradox

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2015 Jul 23, 2015 - 01:06 PM GMT

By: Alasdair_Macleod

Commodities

There is a myth prevalent today that the gold price always falls when interest rates rise. The logic is that when interest rates rise it is more expensive to hold gold, which just sits there not earning anything. And since markets discount future expectations, gold will even fall when a rise in interest rates is expected. With the Fed's Open Market Committee debating the timing of an interest rate rise to take place possibly in September, it is therefore no surprise to market commentators that the gold price continues its bear market. Only the myth is just that: a myth denied by empirical evidence.


The chart below is of a time when the opposite was demonstrably true. From March 1971 to December 1979 the trends in both interest rates and the gold price rose and fell at the same time. It is worth noting that this occurred over more than one business cycle, so it is not a relationship which was cycle-dependant.

Gold and Interest Rates

The myth is therefore satisfactorily debunked. To understand why this relationship between interest rates and gold is not as simple as commonly believed, we must take the argument further to bring in commodities generally and visit the tricky subject of Gibson's Paradox. This paradox is based purely on long-run empirical evidence, when gold was transaction money, covering the two centuries between 1730 and 1930. It observes that the level of wholesale prices and interest rates are positively correlated. It is not the price relationship that is consistent with the quantity theory of money, which presupposes that interest rates correlate to the rate of price inflation instead of the price level itself. This maybe a reason why monetarists mistakenly argue, as we also discovered in the seventies, that central banks can manage the rate of inflation through interest rate policy. The common view in markets today about the relationship between interest rates and price inflation is wholly at odds with the longer-run evidence of Gibson's Paradox and accords with the more fashionable quantity theory instead.

Gibson and his paradox are generally forgotten today, and those who centrally plan our money and markets appear unaware of the challenge it poses to their monetarist preconceptions. Keynes, no less, described Gibson's Paradox in 1930 as "one of the most completely established empirical facts in the whole field of quantitative economics", and Irving Fisher also wrote in 1930 that "no problem in economics has been more hotly debated". Even Milton Friedman agreed in 1976 that "The Gibson Paradox remains an empirical phenomenon without a theoretical explanation".[1]

Resolving this paradox can be left to another time; instead we shall consider the implications by looking at price relationships between wholesale prices and interest rates in a post-gold world. The next chart is of producer prices measured in gold compared with one-year Treasury yields.

Producer Prices in Gold

I have taken the St Louis Fed's "Producer Price Index by Commodity for Crude Materials for Further Processing" to more closely reflect commodity price trends, and to reduce the additional considerations of changes in processing margins over time. The one-year interest rate is preferred to the original evidence of Gibson's Paradox, which used the yield on undated British Government Consols stock as being the only continual information on rates available, because we need to more firmly link the evidence to modern interest rate policies.

Looking at the chart, it is hardly surprising that Gibson's Paradox was quashed from the time of the Nixon Shock in 1971, when the US unlocked a huge rise in the gold price by ending the Bretton Woods Agreement. Instead, the gold price took on a life of its own, driving down wholesale prices priced in gold for the next nine years. The rise in the index from 1980 to 2000 reflected gold's subsequent bear market when gold fell from $800 to $250, but the influence of Gibson's Paradox appears to have returned thereafter.

This conclusion might be considered suspect; but the chart tells us that not only are producer prices at their lowest for thirty-five years when measured in sound money, the price level also coincides with zero interest rates. In theory, it accords precisely with Gibson's Paradox. So where do we go from here?

There is only one way for interest rates to go from the zero bound, it being only a matter of time, time which according to the Fed is now running out. Commodity prices in their role as raw materials therefore seem set to rise with interest rates, if the Paradox is still valid. Furthermore, the evidence from this analysis suggests that wholesale prices are suppressed even more than the price of gold. This being the case, when the interest rate cycle turns the potential for higher raw material prices measured in dollars could be truly spectacular, even more so in the event the gold price rises at the same time, which seems likely in the event that financial markets become destabilised by higher interest rates.

It is worth repeating at this point that the economic consensus, which adheres to the quantity theory of money and has been comforted by the apparent absence of consumer price inflation in the wake of the post-Lehman monetary expansion, takes a diametrically opposite view to that indicated by the Paradox. The prospect of a turn in the interest rate cycle is expected to drive the dollar's exchange rate higher still, weakening commodity prices and gold even further. In the language of the dealers, everyone is on the same side of the trade, meaning the dollar is technically over-bought and commodities over-sold.

Gibson's Paradox says it will turn out otherwise, and it could be central to linking the cyclical relationship between interest rates, securities markets, and commodity prices. It becomes much easier to see how these relationships tie together. Rising interest rates would almost certainly be accompanied by a potentially large fall in overpriced bond and stock markets as speculative positions are unwound, the former even undermining bank solvency ratios.

The flight of speculative capital from falling markets has to go somewhere, particularly if cash balances held in the banks are at a growing risk from systemic default. The Paradox tells us that these are the conditions for commodities to become the safe haven of choice for the highest levels of speculative money ever recorded since fiat currencies dispensed with their golden anchor. Ergo, Gibson's Paradox probably still holds.

[1] All three quotes are taken from Barsky & Summers, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 1680, (August 1985).

Alasdair Macleod

Head of research, GoldMoney

Alasdair.Macleod@GoldMoney.com

Alasdair Macleod runs FinanceAndEconomics.org, a website dedicated to sound money and demystifying finance and economics. Alasdair has a background as a stockbroker, banker and economist. He is also a contributor to GoldMoney - The best way to buy gold online.

© 2015 Copyright Alasdair Macleod - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Alasdair Macleod Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in