Tell me, again, how the end of the Fed’s QE program will be bearish for gold

January 7, 2015

This post is a reiteration of the points I made in my 16th December article and includes updated charts. The main point is that there are times, like now, when less ‘accommodative’ monetary policy is absolutely not bearish for gold.

The Fed announced the beginning of its QE “tapering” on 18th December 2013. The following charts show that within a few days of this announcement gold made a major bottom in non-US$ terms (the gold/UDN ratio is a proxy for gold’s performance in terms of a basket of important currencies excluding the US$) and an intermediate-term bottom in US$ terms.

The Fed then methodically “tapered” its QE program during 2014 and announced the completion of the program on 29th October. The following charts also show that within a few days of this announcement gold bottomed in both non-US$ terms and US$ terms.

Over the past two days gold broke out to the upside in non-US$ terms and appears to have completed a long-term base.



As I explained in the above-linked article, the critical point to understand is that gold’s perceived value moves in the opposite direction to confidence in central banking and the economy. During periods when a general belief takes hold that the central bank’s money-pumping is improving the economy’s prospects, the money-pumping turns out to be an intermediate-term bearish influence on the gold market. However, the money-pumping distorts the economy in a way that eventually leads to substantial economic weakness.

A tightening of monetary conditions will begin to reveal the distortions (mal-investments) caused by the preceding ‘monetary accommodation’, which is why the demand for gold will sometimes increase as the Fed becomes more restrictive. In such a situation gold isn’t gaining ground because the Fed is tightening, it is gaining ground because tighter monetary conditions are shining a light on the economic damage caused by the earlier money-pumping.

In simpler terms, gold gets hurt by the boom and helped by the bust, so anything that perpetuates the boom is bearish for gold and anything that helps bring on the bust that inevitably follows an inflation-fueled boom is bullish for gold.

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Revisiting the ‘problem’ with leveraged ETFs

January 6, 2015

My 3rd November blog post explained why leveraged ETFs should only ever be used for short-term trades. To set the scene, here is an excerpt from this earlier post:

The crux of the matter is that leveraged ETFs are designed to move by 2 or 3 times the DAILY percentage changes of the target indexes. They are NOT designed to move by 2 or 3 times the percentage change of the target indexes over periods of longer than one day. Due to the effects of compounding, their percentage changes over periods of much longer than one day will usually be less — and sometimes substantially less — than 2-times (in the case of a 2X ETF) or 3-times (in the case of a 3X ETF) the percentage changes in the target indexes.

In the earlier post I presented tables to show that the greater the volatility of an index and the greater the leverage provided by an ETF linked to the index, the worse the likely performance of the leveraged ETF over extended periods. The worse, that is, relative to the performance superficially implied by the daily percentage change relationship between the index and the leveraged ETF. I concluded that leveraged ETFs are only suitable for short-term trades and that a trade should be very short-term if it involves a 3X ETF and/or a volatile market.

To illustrate how badly a leveraged ETF can perform relative to the performance superficially implied by the daily percentage change relationship between the leveraged ETF and the market to which it is linked, here is a chart comparing the performances of GDXJ (the Junior Gold Miners ETF) and JDST (the Junior Gold Miners 3X Bear ETF) since the end of 2013. JDST is designed to have a daily percentage change that is roughly three times the INVERSE of GDXJ’s daily percentage change, so it is an ETF that someone would buy if they were bearish on GDXJ. For example, on a day when GDXJ lost 5%, JDST would gain about 15%, and on a day when GDXJ gained 5%, JDST would lose about 15%.

Given that GDXJ is presently about 15% lower than it was at the end of 2013, people who are unfamiliar with how leveraged ETFs work would likely jump to the conclusion that a JDST position purchased at the end of 2013 and held through to the present would show a healthy profit. However, this conclusion could not be further from the truth, because JDST has lost 81% of its value over the period in question.


The dismal performance of JDST is a trap for the novice trader, but it is not a design flaw. As outlined in my 3rd November post, it is a mathematical function of how the leverage works and simply means that this type of ETF should only ever be used in trades with timeframes of no more than a few weeks.

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Charts of interest

January 3, 2015

The following charts are referenced in a market update to be emailed to TSI subscribers prior to Monday 5th January.

Chart 1: Gold in US$ terms


Chart 2: Gold in euro terms


Chart 3: Gold relative to the Industrial Metals Index


Chart 4: XAU


Chart 5: Gold stocks relative to gold bullion (HUI/gold)


Chart 6: Junior gold miners (GDXJ) and juniors relative to seniors (GDXJ/GDX)


Chart 7: Natural Gas


Charts 8, 9 & 10: Asanko Gold (AKG), Endeavour Mining (EDV.TO) and Timmins Gold (TGD)




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A brilliant 5-step strategy

December 30, 2014

1) Rescue major banks by transferring to them, through various channels, a few hundred billion dollars of taxpayers’ money.

2) Call this money transfer the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), because calling it the Bailout At Taxpayer Expense (BATE) program wouldn’t create the right impression.

3) Justify the money transfer by claiming that it is necessary to prevent a total financial collapse and massive losses to bank depositors, even though, in reality, bank deposits are not at risk and the financial system would actually be strengthened by allowing excessively indebted/leveraged financial institutions to go bust.

4) Implement monetary policies that, over the space of several years, effectively transfer trillions of dollars from savers and middle-class wage earners to the balance sheets of banks and other financial speculators.

5) When the banks, flush with the huge profits stemming from the carry-trade opportunities provided by many years of limitless access to near-zero-cost short-term credit, pay back the TARP money with a smidgen of interest, declare the whole exercise to be a resounding success for taxpayers and the economy.

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