Gold, Crude, the Dollar and Donald Trump

Since the 1970s, gold and crude oil have tended to rise and fall together as illustrated by the chart below, with gold and crude prices adjusted for inflation.

Spot Gold and WTI Light Crude

The reason is not hard to find. When crude prices rise the Dollar weakens. The chart below compares crude, adjusted for inflation, against an inverted Dollar Index. Major rises in crude are normally accompanied by a similar rise in the inverted Dollar index (signaling Dollar weakness).

WTI Light Crude and inverted Dollar Index

However, the converse is not always true. The 1986 Plaza Accord — where Japan and Germany agreed to scale back Dollar purchases — caused a sharp fall in the Dollar without a corresponding rise in crude.

If Donald Trump successfully negotiates a new trade deal with China, cessation of Chinese purchases could spark a similar decline of the Dollar.

Dollar Index

The Dollar Index is currently consolidating between 88.50 and 91. I suggested last week that it may be forming a base. But rising Crude prices add downward pressure on the Dollar.

Dollar Index

And Gold is the likely beneficiary.

Spot Gold

Breakout above $1375/ounce would signal a strong advance.

We can’t blame Donald Trump for the rise in geo-political tensions around the world. Those are more a legacy of the previous administration’s failure to enforce red lines. But Trump’s communication style does tend to inflame issues and rising geo-political tensions in Syria, North Korea, South China Sea, Ukraine, the Balkans and Baltic states — to name but a few — are also likely to fuel demand for gold as a safe haven.

China: Roiling the Waters

Roiling the Waters: Why the United States needs to stop playing peacemaker and start making China feel uncomfortable.

BY Elbridge Colby, Ely Ratner

History has demonstrated the perils of focusing too much on stability at the expense of deterrence. The Cuban missile crisis, the modern world’s closest brush with the apocalypse, was precipitated by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s perception that the United States, especially President John F. Kennedy, was overly concerned about stability and cooling tensions between the superpowers. Khrushchev’s sense that America could be pushed was formed by Kennedy’s cautious reactions to assertive Soviet moves toward Berlin, as well as Khrushchev’s measure of Kennedy at the 1961 Vienna superpower summit as “weak” and accommodating……..

OF COURSE, CHINA IS NOT THE SOVIET UNION. And 2014 is not 1962. The point is simply that a country with the power of the USSR or China, unsatisfied with features of the existing order, motivated to do something to change it, and skeptical of the resolve of the United States, could well pursue a policy of coercion and brinkmanship, even under the shadow of nuclear weapons. As historian Francis Gavin has argued, the whole history of the Cold War shows that countries like China — and, at times, the United States — can bluff, coerce, and threaten their way to geopolitical gain.

The worst way to deal with such a power is to leave it with the impression that these approaches work. Just as the United States would have been far better off if Kennedy, at the Vienna summit, had squelched Khrushchev’s doubts about his resolve to defend Berlin, it will be far better if the leadership in Beijing has the clear sense that the United States will meet each challenge to its and its allies’ interests resolutely.

Read more at Roiling the Waters.

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
~ Winston Churchill