Gold rallies as Dollar falls

The greenback is weakening. The Dollar Index retracement respected resistance at 94, confirming a decline to test primary support at the September low of 91. Follow-through below secondary support at 93 would strengthen the signal.

Dollar Index

The falling Dollar strengthened demand for gold which is testing the band of resistance around $1300/ounce. Upward breakout is likely (Twiggs Trend Index holding above zero indicates buying pressure) and would target the September high of $1350. Breach of primary support at $1260 is most unlikely but would be a strong bear signal for gold.

Spot Gold

The All Ordinaries Gold Index is headed for a test of long-term resistance at 5000 in response to the falling Aussie Dollar and rising gold prices in USD.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Gold and crude oil tend to rise and fall in unison over the long-term. The primary up-trend in crude prices improves the long-term outlook for gold.

Nymex Light Crude

East to West: Still mostly bullish apart from EU & China

South Korea’s Seoul Composite Index continues in a strong up-trend despite the nuclear threat from its northern neighbor. The latest retracement appears mild and likely to test the rising trendline around 2450.

Seoul Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index also retraced but the long tail on this week’s candle indicates solid support at 22000.

Nikkei 225 Index

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng continues in a strong bull trend, with the Trend Index respecting the zero line.

Shanghai Composite Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is consolidating above support at 3340. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure but this appears to be secondary in nature, warning of no more than a correction.

Shanghai Composite Index

India’s NSE Nifty Index is also in a bull trend, with the Trend Index respecting zero. Respect of the rising trendline is likely and would signal a fresh advance.

Nifty Index

Target 10000 + ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 11000

Moving to Europe, Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 shows a stronger correction, with bearish divergence on the Trend Index warning of selling pressure.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600

The UK’s Footsie displays a stronger bearish divergence and the index is likely to test primary support at 7200.

FTSE 100

The S&P 500 displays a strong bull trend but penetration of the rising trendline is likely to lead to a correction to 2500.

S&P 500

Canada’s TSX 60 continues to consolidate below 900. Rising crude prices may alleviate selling pressure but breach of support at 880 would be a strong bear signal.

TSX 60

ASX 200 tests support at 5900

Australia is headed for a period of political uncertainty, while tighter Chinese monetary policy and a crackdown on capital outflows will slow the local real estate boom. Employment is strong but low wage growth suggests under-employment.

Wage Index

Reliance on mining and real estate as the backbone of the economy is bound to disappoint. What the economy needs is a vibrant manufacturing and tech sector but this is shrinking rather than growing, with investment in machinery and equipment falling from 8% to almost 4% of GDP over the last decade.

Wage Index

Stocks are rising but we need to temper our enthusiasm with a hint of caution. The ASX 200 is testing medium-term support at 5900. The tall shadow on Friday’s candle indicates continued selling pressure. Breach of 5900 would warn of a strong correction to test primary support at 5650, while respect (indicated by recovery above 6000) would confirm an advance to 6250 (5950 + 300).

ASX 200

* Target calculation: 5950 + ( 5950 – 5650 ) = 6250

I remain wary of the banks because of their low capital base and high mortgage exposure. Reversal below the medium-term trendline warns of a correction to test the band of primary support between 8000 and 8100. Recovery above 8800 is less likely.

ASX 300 Banks

Miners are more bullish despite the low iron ore price. The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is testing medium-term support at 3300. Respect is likely and would signal another advance.

ASX 300 Metals and Mining

Rising crude lifts all commodities?

Crude is rising, with Nymex Light Crude respecting its new support level at its former two-year high of $54/barrel, indicating a primary advance.

Nymex Light Crude

The general rule is that rising crude prices lift all commodities. Crude prices are a major factor in commodity prices due to the high energy costs of extraction (hard commodities), cultivation (soft commodities) and transport (both hard and soft).

The broad DJ-UBS Commodity Index is retracing but likely to respect the rising trendline, with a rally testing resistance at 90.

DJ UBS Commodity Index

Copper also shows some weakness at present but respect of primary support at 6400 would confirm the up-trend.

Copper Grade A

Iron ore is headed in the opposite direction, however, as the Chinese real estate market slows. But expect strong support between $48 and $54/tonne, especially if the rise in crude prices continues.

Iron Ore

Even gold prices tend to rise and fall in unison with crude over the long-term.

Gold’s next move

The greenback is weakening, with the Dollar Index breaking support at 94. Buying is still evident, with Wednesday’s long tail, but failure to recover above the new resistance level would warn of another downward leg. Next line of support is 93.

Dollar Index

Gold is consolidating above primary support at $1260. A falling Dollar would strengthen demand for gold, making another test of $1300 likely. Twiggs Trend Index holding above zero indicates buying pressure. Breach of primary support is unlikely but would be a strong bear signal for gold.

Spot Gold

Falling Aussie Dollar boosts Gold stocks

The Aussie Dollar is tanking, falling from a September high of 81 US cents to below 76 US cents. Test of support at 73.50 is likely.

Australian Dollar AUDUSD

The All Ords Gold Index ($XGD) responded to the weakening Aussie Dollar, despite a lackluster performance from gold. Breakout above 5000 would signal a new primary advance, offering a target of 5650*.

All Ords Gold Index ($XGD)

* Target calculation: 5000 + ( 5000 – 4350 ) = 5650

The bull market in equities is aging | Bob Doll

Great summary of market conditions by Bob Doll:

Weekly Top Themes

  1. Last week’s elections signal possible trouble for Republicans in 2018. We caution against reading too much into the results. But Democratic gains in Virginia and elsewhere confirm signals from national polling that suggest the GOP will struggle to hold the House next year.
  2. We expect a tax bill to be passed in 2018, which should help the economy and equity markets. While there are significant differences between the two plans, the simple reality is that it would be political suicide for Republicans if they don’t pass tax reform before next year’s elections. Depending on the details of the final bill, we expect individual tax cuts to be a plus for consumption, while repatriation and corporate tax cuts should contribute to corporate revenues and earnings.
  3. Despite some views to the contrary, we believe the global economy should continue to improve. Some argue the world is in a period of secular stagnation. After all, growth remains very slow despite years of low or even negative interest rates. In our view, the world economy is enjoying a period of reflation and should experience more synchronized growth in 2018.
  4. Stronger global growth is benefiting multinational companies. These companies have reported stronger revenue and earnings results than domestically oriented companies this quarter.
  5. The bull market in equities is aging but remains very much intact. The current bull market is closing in on nine years, which makes it natural to ask how much longer it can continue. In our experience, there are several reasons for a bull market to end, including advanced Federal Reserve tightening, the flattening of the yield curve, slower levels of money growth, widening credit spreads and rising inflation. We are watching these factors closely, and don’t see signals yet that would point to the end of the current run.

In a nutshell: the bull market will continue until the Fed tightens monetary policy in response to rising inflation. When this will happen, no one is sure.

Read the rest of his report here: Nuveen Weekly Investment Commentary

ASX 200 confirms breakout

The ASX 200 closed above its 2015 high of 6000, confirming an earlier breakout by the All Ords. The immediate target for an advance is 6250 (5950 + 300) but the long-term target is the 2007 high of 6800.

ASX 200

I remain wary of the banks, with the ASX 300 Banks index facing resistance at 8800. Reversal below the medium-term trendline at 8600 would warn of another test of primary support (8000). Recovery above 8800 is as likely. I remain concerned over their low capital base and high mortgage exposure.

ASX 300 Banks

Miners are more bullish despite the falling iron ore price. The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index reached its target of 3500 but is now retracing to test the new support level. Respect would signal another advance.

ASX 300 Metals and Mining

Australia seems headed for a period of political instability, while tighter Chinese monetary policy and a crackdown on capital outflows could also impact on the Australian economy. There is a lot that could go wrong but the market is taking this in its stride. Just temper your optimism with a measure of caution.

Dollar finds resistance as bond yields meander

Long-term Treasury yields continue to move sideways, building a base, with 10-year yields oscillating between 2.0% and 2.6%. Breakout above the 2014 high of 3.0% appears a long way off despite the Fed gradually raising short-term rates. Rising yields increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, reducing demand.

10-year Treasury Yield

Higher interest rates would be likely to strengthen the Dollar. The bear rally on the Dollar Index has run into resistance at 95. Reversal below the rising trendline at 94 would warn of another test of primary support.

Dollar Index

Gold stocks rise as Aussie Dollar falls

Spot Gold is under selling pressure, with the Trend Index declining to zero, and is likely to test support at $1260/ounce. Breach of support would warn of another decline, with a target of $1200. Respect of the rising trendline, with breakout above $1300 is less likely but would be a strong bull signal.

Spot Gold

The All Ords Gold Index ($XGD) indicates buying pressure, with a higher trough and Twiggs Money Flow crossing above zero, in response to the weakening Aussie Dollar. Breakout above 5000 would signal a new primary advance.

All Ords Gold Index ($XGD)

Crude retraces

Nymex Light Crude is retracing to test its new support level at the former two-year high of $54.50/barrel. Respect would confirm the primary advance.
Nymex Light Crude

Brent crude is similarly retracing, to test support around $60/barrel.

Brent Crude

Broad commodity prices are likely to follow crude, with the DJ-UBS Commodity Index heading for resistance at 90.

DJ UBS Commodity Index

Iron ore is more susceptible to cycles in the Chinese real estate market but is likely to respect primary support at $52.50/tonne.

Iron Ore

Even gold is likely to benefit in the long-term if crude prices rise.

East to West: S&P 500 leads the bulls

Let us start in the East, with the canary in the coal mine. The Seoul Composite Index completely ignored the nuclear threat from its northern neighbor, surging in a strong primary up-trend.

Seoul Composite Index

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index likewise ignored the threat of a nuclear DPRK, advancing strongly since breaking resistance at 21000.

Nikkei 225 Index

China’s Shanghai Composite Index is also advancing, albeit at a more modest pace.

Shanghai Composite Index

India’s NSE Nifty Index displays strong buying pressure, with Twiggs Trend Index oscillating above the zero line.

Nifty Index

Target 10000 + ( 10000 – 9000 ) = 11000

Moving to Europe, Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 600 broke resistance at 395 and is likely to test its 2015 high.

DJ Euro Stoxx 600

Despite BREXIT fears, the UK’s Footsie has recovered to test resistance at 7600. Breakout would offer a target of 8000*.

FTSE 100

* Target calculation: 7600 + ( 7600 – 7200 ) = 8000

The S&P 500 leads the pack. With Trend Index troughs above zero and barely a correction in sight, the index displays exceptional buying pressure. At some point the Fed will take the punch bowl away but the party is likely to continue in full swing until then.

S&P 500

Canada’s TSX 60 lags behind, with a declining trend index warning of selling pressure. But surging crude prices could avert a strong down-trend. Recovery above 900 would be a bullish sign.

TSX 60

All Ords breaks 6000

The All Ordinaries Index broke resistance at 6000, signaling a primary advance. Long-term target for the advance is 7000, but wait for retracement to respect the new support level.

ASX All Ordinaries Index

The ASX 200 closed above 5950 but below its 2015 high of 6000, indicating that small caps are advancing slightly faster than large caps.

ASX 200

The ASX 300 Banks index faces stubborn resistance at 8800. Reversal below the medium-term trendline at 8600 would warn of another test of primary support at 8000. With low capital leverage ratios and Sydney house prices now falling, the sector may be headed for testing times.

ASX 300 Banks

The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index is more bullish, breaking resistance at its three-year high of 3300 to signal another primary advance. I remain cautious because of iron ore weakness and rising Chinese interest rates but retracement that respects the new support level would confirm the advance.

ASX 300 Metals and Mining

The Australian Dollar is falling, iron ore is weak and banks face headwinds but the overall outlook remains (surprisingly) bullish.

Gold softens as market contemplates another rate rise

The Dollar continues to strengthen, with the Dollar Index testing short-term resistance at 95. Another rate rise from the Fed in December would strengthen the Dollar further. Medium-term target for the extended rally is 97.

Dollar Index

Spot Gold is under selling pressure, with the Trend Index declining to zero, and is likely to test support at $1260/ounce. Breach of support would warn of another decline, with a target of $1200.

Spot Gold

But the All Ords Gold Index ($XGD) is rising, headed for a test of resistance at 5000. Breakout would signal a new primary advance.

All Ords Gold Index ($XGD)

…Largely because the AUD price of gold is rising …as the Australian Dollar weakens. There are still signs of resistance though, with the Trend Index unable to cross above zero. Reversal below $1620 would be a strong bear signal.

Gold/AUD

Crude breakout warns of commodity rise

Most significant news of the week was Nymex Light Crude breaking resistance at its two-year high of $54.50/barrel, signaling a primary advance. Retracement that respects the new support level would confirm the up-trend.

Nymex Light Crude

The next major resistance level is at $60/barrel, shown on the 5-year chart below.

Nymex Light Crude

The breakout follows Brent crude’s earlier breakout above $55, signaling a primary up-trend.

Brent Crude

Crude prices are a major factor in commodity prices due to the high energy costs of extraction (hard commodities), cultivation (soft commodities) and transport (both hard and soft). Rising crude prices are likely to cause a broad rise in commodity prices, with the DJ-UBS Commodity Index testing resistance at 90.

DJ UBS Commodity Index

Iron ore is more susceptible to cycles in the Chinese real estate market but is likely to find support above $50/tonne if crude prices rise.

Iron Ore

Even gold would be likely to benefit as gold and crude prices tend to rise and fall in unison over the long-term.

Should central banks adopt a nominal GDP target? | MacroBusiness

Leith van Onselen questions whether the RBA should target a flat growth rate of say 5% for nominal GDP rather than inflation:

I am not convinced that the RBA and RBNZ should necessarily set interest rates around nominal GDP. As shown in the below charts, setting interest rates in this manner would likely see the cash rate rise significantly from current levels which, given anaemic wages growth and high underemployment in both nations, would seem unwise:

Let’s look at the graph of GDP growth a bit closer. If we target 5% GDP growth:

  • From 2001 to 2007 rates were too low. That would have softened the sharp fall in 2008
  • Rates in 2008 were too high
  • Rates were not too low in 2009 to 2010 because of the growth undershoot in 2008
  • Rates were too high 2011 to 2016
  • Again, rates are not too low in 2017 because GDP has undershot its growth target for the last 6 years

I believe that targeting nominal GDP would help to stabilize growth with higher rates in the boom to prevent the need for lower rates in an ensuing bust.

Where I do agree with Leith is that banks need to re-focus from financing largely speculative (housing) assets to financing productive investment. In fact, not just the banks but the entire economy.

Source: Should central banks adopt a nominal GDP target? – MacroBusiness

The Kindleberger Trap

From Joseph S. Nye, Professor, Harvard University:

As US President-elect Donald Trump prepares his administration’s policy toward China, he should be wary of …. the “Kindleberger Trap”: a China that seems too weak rather than too strong.

Charles Kindleberger, an intellectual architect of the Marshall Plan who later taught at MIT, argued that the disastrous decade of the 1930s was caused when the US replaced Britain as the largest global power but failed to take on Britain’s role in providing global public goods. The result was the collapse of the global system into depression, genocide, and world war.

Today, as China’s power grows, will it help provide global public goods?

In domestic politics, governments produce public goods such as policing or a clean environment, from which all citizens can benefit and none are excluded. At the global level, public goods – such as a stable climate, financial stability, or freedom of the seas – are provided by coalitions led by the largest powers.

Small countries have little incentive to pay for such global public goods. Because their small contributions make little difference to whether they benefit or not, it is rational for them to ride for free. But the largest powers can see the effect and feel the benefit of their contributions. So it is rational for the largest countries to lead. When they do not, global public goods are under-produced. When Britain became too weak to play that role after World War I, an isolationist US continued to be a free rider, with disastrous results.

Some observers worry that as China’s power grows, it will free ride rather than contribute to an international order that it did not create.

So far, the record is mixed. China benefits from the United Nations system, where it has a veto in the Security Council. It is now the second-largest funder of UN peacekeeping forces, and it participated in UN programs related to Ebola and climate change.

China has also benefited greatly from multilateral economic institutions like the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. In 2015, China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which some saw as an alternative to the World Bank; but the new institution adheres to international rules and cooperates with the World Bank.

On the other hand, China’s rejection of a Permanent Court of Arbitration judgment last year against its territorial claims in the South China Sea raises troublesome questions. Thus far, however, Chinese behavior has sought not to overthrow the liberal world order from which it benefits, but to increase its influence within it.

If pressed and isolated by Trump’s policy, however, will China become a disruptive free rider that pushes the world into a Kindleberger Trap?

Basically what Kindleburger described is a power vacuum, where previous hegemons — such as Britain before WWI or the US post WWII — grow too weak to enforce global standards under which the system operates. That could be trade, respect of international borders, the financial system, international law, or freedom of the seas. There is no smooth transition. When the old order breaks down, the system is likely descend into chaos for a time until a new order, with new players, is established.

Source: The Kindleberger Trap – CHINA US Focus

The challenge of Xi Jinping’s Leninist autocracy

Like George Kennan’s long telegram, Martin Wolf lays out the challenges facing the West:

Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!” Thus in 1956 did Nikita Khrushchev, then first secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, predict the future.

Xi Jinping is far more cautious. But his claims, too, are bold. “Socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era,” the general secretary of the Communist party of China told its 19th National Congress last week. “It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.” The Leninist political system is not on the ash heap of history. It is, yet again, a model.

China has succeeded where past socialist systems have failed. Primarily because Deng Xiaoping recognized that a centrally planned economy was too inefficient. Instead he opted for a system that combined an open free market economy with tight political control. Effectively, a free market system ruled by an autocracy.

What are the implications of China’s marriage of Leninism and market. China has indeed learnt from the west in economics. But it rejects modern western politics. Under Mr Xi, China is increasingly autocratic and illiberal. In the Communist party, China has an ostensibly modern template for its ancient system of imperial sovereignty and meritocratic bureaucracy. But the party is now emperor. So, whoever controls the party controls all. One should add that shifts in an autocratic direction have occurred elsewhere, not least in Russia. Those who thought the fall of the USSR heralded the durable triumph of liberal democracy were wrong.

Will this combination of Leninist politics with market economics go on working as China develops? The answer must be: we do not know. A positive response could be that this system not only fits with Chinese traditions, but the bureaucrats are also exceptionally capable. The system has worked spectacularly so far. Yet there are also negative responses. One is that the party is always above the law. That makes power ultimately lawless. Another is that the corruption Mr Xi has been attacking is inherent in a system lacking checks from below. Another is that, in the long run, this reality will sap economic dynamism. Yet another is that as the economy and the level of education advances, the desire for a say in politics will become overwhelming. In the long run, the rule of one man over the party and that of one party over China will not stand.

It is likely that the Chinese “model” will collapse under its own weight, as its inherent weaknesses are exposed. But the West cannot afford to bury its head in the sand and ignore the rising threat.

History has shown that a combination of autocracy and economic power is dangerous for global stability. Untempered by the restraining influence of an effective democracy, autocracies tend to treat their own citizens harshly and their neighbors even harsher. Respect for rule of law, whether domestic law or international law, becomes subservient to the goals of their leaders.

Look no further than Russia’s behavior in Eastern Europe or China in Tibet and the South China Sea. Whether the objective is establishing a sphere of influence, a defensive cordon or global hegemony, rule of law and respect for the rights of others are the first casualty.

Autocracies are not to be trusted.

As Martin Wolf says “China is our partner. It is not our friend.”

The challenges to the West are clear:

  1. Get it’s political house in order
  2. Protect its intellectual property
  3. Ensure a level playing field on the economic front
  4. Don’t tolerate gradual encroachment and erosion of Western democratic standards

Source: The challenge of Xi Jinping’s Leninist autocracy