Change of Season Could Change Gold's Fortunes

The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) slipped for a fifth straight month in August and is down more than 8% year-to-date, but some market observers believe gold can cobble together some upside as autumn arrive.

Investors have been shunning physical assets like gold in face of further interest rate tightening out of the Federal Reserve amid a robust U.S. economy. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier in August that gradual rate hikes will come, and with inflation still low, there was little concern over the economy overheating.

Gold’s slump is also plaguing gold miners and the related exchange traded funds, including the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX), the largest ETF dedicated to gold mining stocks.

“A rise in the US dollar coincided with a record short position on gold not seen since the end of 2015 and major retail funds liquidating their precious metal positions. This triple whammy caused a capitulation in gold below $1200 per ounce this summer and new lows for most major miners including Goldcorp (GG), Barrick (ABX), and Newmont (NEM),” according to ETF Daily News.

Questioning The Consensus

Recent data points suggest professional speculators have been boosting short positions in gold. Money managers are still betting on further weakness in the gold market as many have increased net-short positions to a record for a fifth straight week. Analysts at Citigroup Global Markets argued that there isn’t a lot of demand for gold in a world where yields and equities are rising.

“The consensus opinion is usually wrong at turning points. The last time we saw this record short position in gold was at the end of 2015 before a powerful rally. The record short position is actually now even greater than the end of 2015 and coincides with the tech bubble in 2000 when gold was under $300 an ounce,” reports ETF Daily News.