The Dollar weakened, with the Dollar Index testing support at 88.50. Respect of new resistance at 91 — the last primary support level — confirms the strong down-trend. Completion of another Trend Index peak below zero would further strengthen the signal.
* Target calculation: 91 – (95 – 91) =87
The extent of the Dollar’s fall is best illustrated against major trading partner China’s Yuan: a 9.5% fall in just over two years. And that is despite rising US interest rates and a $120 billion increase in China’s foreign reserves over the last year.
Gold is again testing resistance at $1350. Breakout would signal another primary advance, with a target of $1450*. Follow-through above $1375 would confirm.
* Target calculation: 1350 + (1350 – 1250) = 1450
The All Ordinaries Gold Index has been undermined by the strong Aussie Dollar. But recovery above 5000 would signal another advance.
The Dollar is retracing to test resistance. Dollar Index respect of the former primary support level at 91 would confirm a primary decline with a target of 87*. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.
* Target calculation: 91 – (95 – 91) =87
Gold hesitated below resistance at $1350 as the Dollar retraced. Trend Index above zero indicates an up-trend. Breakout above $1350 is likely and would signal an advance with a target of $1450*.
* Target calculation: 1350 + (1350 – 1250) = 1450
A strong Aussie Dollar is holding back the All Ordinaries Gold Index. Respect of the rising trendline is likely and recovery above 5000 would signal another advance.
Cessation of Chinese purchases of US Treasuries may not be permanent but will fuel Dollar weakness, improve the competitiveness of US exports in international markets, and boost dollar-denominated gold prices.
Gold rallied strongly on the back of a weak Dollar. A rising Trend Index indicates buying pressure. Breakout above $1350 is likely and would signal a fresh advance.
The Dollar is weakening which is bullish for gold. Follow-through of the Dollar Index below 91 would signal a primary decline with a target of 87*. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure.
Gold bounced off support at $1240/ounce, ending the week with a strong rally. Penetration of the descending trendline would indicate the down-trend has weakened, while breakout above $1300 would suggest another advance. Twiggs Trend Index close to zero still indicates hesitancy.
The greenback is weakening which is bullish for gold. Dollar Index reversal below 93 (and the rising trendline) would indicate another test of primary support at 91. A major Trend Index peak below zero would warn of another primary decline with a target of 87*.
* Target calculation: 91 – (95 – 91) =87
Australia’s All Ords Gold Index is headed for another test of long-term resistance at 5000. Breakout would signal a primary advance.
A weakening Aussie Dollar would strengthen demand for gold stocks. Respect of resistance at 77.5 US cents by the current bear rally would warn of a decline to test primary support at 73.5.
The greenback continues its bear market rally, assisted by the new tax bill and the December Fed rate hike. Breakout above resistance at 95 would signal a primary up-trend, a strong bear signal for gold, but the Dollar still has to overcome concerns over North Korea.
Gold found short-term support at $1240/ounce and recovery above the descending trendline would indicate that the down-trend is weakening. Breach of primary support at $1200 is unlikely but would be a strong bear signal, warn of a primary down-trend.
The All Ords Gold Index is also correcting. Breach of primary support at 4300 would warn of a primary down-trend.
But I expect this to be cushioned by further weakness on the Aussie Dollar.
Helped in part by a declining yield differential between Australian and US government bonds.
GDP growth has lifted in 2017 and the labour market has tightened.
Our base case has these trends continuing over the next two years, but there are a number of downside risks.
The ability of monetary policy to support the economy in the event of a negative shock is more limited than in the past thereby exacerbating the potential impact that any negative shock may bring.
On some important metrics it’s been a reasonably good for year the Australian economy. The labour market has tightened courtesy of very strong employment growth and real GDP growth has lifted. At the same time, nominal GDP growth has been buoyant due to firmer commodity prices when compared to a year earlier. Wages growth, however, remains soft and real wages are barely in positive territory.
The house view is that the improvement in the labour market continues over the next two years and the unemployment rate should continue to grind lower. But there are plenty of risks that would change the outlook if they were to materialise.
This note discusses some of the key global and domestic risks to the Australian economy. It begins with an outline of CBA’s base case for the economy over the next two years before delving into some of the potential risks. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather it covers a few areas that the author considers to be the most acute risks to our central scenario. They are: (i) the capacity to respond to a negative shock with monetary policy (and to a lessor extent fiscal policy), (ii) a solid fall in commodity prices; (iii) a sharp correction in dwelling prices; (iv) a policy “mistake”; and (v) a fall in net migration via a policy change.
CBA’s central scenario
CBA’s base case for the economy over the next two years is a benign one. It is broadly similar to the RBA’s forecast profile for the economy which is also not dissimilar to the consensus view.
On the key components, we see output growth continuing to lift to a pace of around 3%pa in 2018 (chart 1). We put potential growth at 2¾% (population plus productivity growth) which means our forecast profile has a gradual decline in the unemployment rate as spare capacity recedes (chart 2). In 2018, most of the key components of the economy are expected to contribute to growth, with dwelling investment the exception.
The capacity of wages growth to slow further from here is also limited in the event of a commodity price shock. That is because wages growth is already at record lows and wages growth is sticky downwards. A fall in wages growth was able to cushion the most recent terms-of-trade shock (late-2011 to early 2016) because growth in wages slowed in line with the weakness in commodity prices. This helped to support the labour market and keep the unemployment rate from rising as much as it otherwise might have. But this time, a fall in wages growth will not be able to absorb the shock to the same extent given wages growth is already so low.
A sharp correction in dwelling prices
The single biggest risk to the domestic outlook looks to be a sharp correction in dwelling prices. In our view, this carries a greater risk to the real economy than it does to financial stability given the banking system is well capitalised.
There is a commonly held belief in Australia that the main trigger for a fall in dwelling prices is a rise in unemployment. This seems logical because rising unemployment would generally be associated with a lift in mortgage delinquencies which would put downward pressure on prices. But the data suggests that employment is more likely to lag changes in dwelling prices rather than lead (chart 12). The obvious question to then ask is why? We attribute the answer, in part, to the wealth effect and the recent track record of monetary policy in smoothing out the business cycle.
In periods when employment growth is slowing, the RBA is generally easing policy. When this is occurring, as long as the RBA can fend off a recession, falling interest rates tend to push up dwelling prices via cheaper credit which in turn encourages spending and supports employment growth. Of course, it’s a different story if employment growth falls too fast and unemployment rises sharply. But so far, at the national level, this hasn’t happened since the recession of the early 90s.
The risk of a material correction in dwelling prices looks higher now than it has been for a long time given: (i) the incredible lift in dwelling prices over the past five years; (ii) mortgage rates are probably unlikely to go lower and indeed can’t go much lower; (iii) household debt to income is at a record high; and (iv) dwelling supply is in the process of lifting quite significantly in some jurisdictions.
A soft correction in dwelling prices would probably have no material negative impact on the labour market. But there is a risk that a hard correction in prices (a fall of 20% or more) would lead the economy into a downturn via the wealth effect (i.e. the notion that changes in demand are influenced by changes in the value of assets). Since income to one person comes via the spending of another, there is a risk that falling home prices leads households to put the brakes on spending which ultimately drags consumption and employment growth lower.
A policy “mistake”
We consider a policy mistake by the central bank to be a risk to the economy given how much debt the household sector is carrying. Specifically, if the RBA hikes too early it could derail the improvement in the labour market that has been underway over the past two years. The record level of debt being carried by the household sector means that interest payments as a share of income will rise quickly if/when rates move higher (chart 13).
The construction sector in Australia, for example, is proportionately bigger than the construction sector in most other advanced economies because strong growth in people means that more needs to be built – dwellings, roads, schools, hospitals, ports etc. Finally, at the margin, a strong population growth rate at a time when there is labour market slack is likely to be putting downward pressure on wages as workers from offshore add competition to domestic labour.
At present, both major sides of politics (i.e. the Liberal-National Coalition and the Labor party) support maintaining a high permanent migrant intake every year. But there is a risk that one of the major parties opts for a different policy stance. The example here is to be found in New Zealand where there has been a change in immigration policy following the recent election outcome that means migration should drop substantially over the next few years. As a result, a change in immigration policy cannot and should not be ruled out in Australia.
A material reduction in net migration to Australia would increase the risk of a fall in dwelling prices as well as weigh on total output growth (not GDP per capita) and negatively impact the construction sector. But it would also likely put upward pressure on wages growth by reducing the pool of workers in many occupations. In that context, it’s not so much a downside risk, but rather one that would see a shift in the economic outlook that would have both winners and losers. From a policy perspective it’s about assessing whether there is a net societal benefit. But that’s a question for another day.
Gold broke support at $1250/ounce, warning of a test of primary support at $1200. Breach of primary support at $1260 remains unlikely but would warn of long-term down-trend.
The greenback rallied on passing of the new tax bill. A test of resistance at 95 is now likely. Breakout above 95 would signal a primary up-trend, bearish for gold.
Long-term Treasury yields are gradually strengthening, with the 10-year expected to test resistance at 2.50%. Breakout above 2.5/2.6 would signal a primary up-trend which again would be bearish for gold.
A long-term chart of gold shows the precious metal retains its bullish bias. There is strong resistance at $1350 opposed by a broad band of support between $1050 and $1200. Respect of $1200 would signal another test of resistance, while breach of $1150 would warn of a primary down-trend.
The All Ords Gold Index is also correcting but is somewhat cushioned by the falling Australian Dollar, now at 75 US cents. Respect of the rising trendline would be bullish, while breach of primary support at 4300 would warn of a down-trend.
The performance of gold can be volatile but at times it acts as a safe haven when geo-political tensions are high and confidence in fiat currencies is low.
Chris Puplava highlighted the recent strong correlation between gold and the Japanese Yen. That is no surprise as the Japanese yen also acts as a safe haven in times of political turmoil. Breakout above 114 to the yen (below 0.00875 on the chart below) would warn of a stronger Dollar and weaker gold prices. Breach of support at 108 (above 0.0092 on the chart below), on the other hand, would be bearish for the Dollar and bullish for gold.
The greenback continues its primary down-trend. Expect another test of primary support at the September low of 91. Breach is not yet likely but would be a strong bull signal for gold.
Gold continues its test of medium-term resistance at $1300/ounce. Upward breakout is more 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 less likely but would warn of a test of primary support at $1200.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 $1200.
But the All Ords Gold Index ($XGD) is rising, headed for a test of resistance at 5000. Breakout would signal a new primary advance.
…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.
The Aussie Dollar broke support against the US Dollar at 77 cents, warning of a decline to test long-term support between 71.50 and 72.00.
Iron ore continues to test new resistance at $62/tonne. Respect would warn of a test of primary support at $53. Declining Twiggs Trend Index indicates selling pressure.
The ASX 300 Metals & Mining index fared better, testing resistance at its three-year high of 3300. But the index is likely to follow iron ore lower. Breach of support at 3100 would warn of a decline to 2700.
The ASX 300 Banks index retreated from resistance at 8800. Respect warns of another test of primary support at 8000.
If banks and miners are both headed in the same direction, the index is sure to follow.
The ASX 200 continues to test resistance at 5900. Follow-through above 5920 would be a strong bull signal, indicating an advance to 6000. Reversal below 5880 would suggest retracement to test the new support level at 5800 (top of the narrow ‘line’ formed over the last four months). Twiggs Money Flow reversal below zero would be a bearish sign.
Despite the falling Dollar and iron ore, the present outlook continues to favor the bull side.
Nymex Light Crude continues to test resistance at $52/barrel. A rising Trend Index signals buying pressure. Breakout above $52 would offer a target of $54. There is a broad band of resistance between $50 and $54 as illustrated on the chart below. Breakout above $54/barrel would signal another long-term advance. But long-term consolidation below $54 is as likely.
High gold prices historically tend to coincide with high crude prices. The chart below shows crude oil and gold prices over the last 50 years, after adjusting for inflation.
Present low crude prices suggest that gold will weaken.
Spot Gold rallied off support at $1260/ounce on the daily chart but encountered resistance at $1300. Consolidation between $1290 and $1275 now indicates uncertainty, while a declining Trend Index warns of selling pressure.
Target 1300 + ( 1300 – 1200 ) = 1400
Dollar strength is another key influence on gold prices. After a lengthy sell-off, the Dollar Index found support at 91. Breakout above resistance at 94 would indicate this is more than just a typical bear market rally. Until then, another test of primary support at 91 remains likely; breach would warn of another major decline.