ETF Securities Research Blog

Gold’s fair value at US$1440 as uncertainty reigns

The US Dollar, Yen, the Swiss Franc and gold have all been beneficiaries of investors seeking haven asset as Britain’s decision to leave the EU has left the world in shock. We believe prolonged uncertainty will keep demand for defensive assets elevated.

Net speculative futures market positioning in gold had already risen to all-time high before the “Brexit” vote and we suspect positioning has moved considerably higher in recent days (data only available weekly with delay). Net speculative positioning hit a record high of 316,525 long contracts last Tuesday, far above the 289,250 net longs hit during the worst of Greek sovereign crisis and considerably above the 83,000 contract average since beginning of the series.

Given the lack of clarity about the future course of the UK’s relationship with the EU or other countries, we expect market uncertainty to keep demand for gold strong for some time and that will be reflected in elevated speculative positioning. Analysts will struggle to assess the impact of Brexit until Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked and it could take up to two years after that point for the UK to formally leave.

The US Dollar basket (DXY) has risen by close to 4% since the announcement of Brexit. We believe that it could rise further as investors look for haven assets. We also assume the US Federal Reserve will at some point in the coming year raise interest rates (on the assumption that Brexit contagion to the real economy of the US is limited).

While US Dollar appreciation is usually gold price-negative, the rise in haven demand is often more price-positive. Indeed we have seen over the past few days that gold and the US Dollar have both risen.

brexit gold1

Given the heightened uncertainty about how events will unfold, we present some scenarios for gold prices. We use our proprietary gold model that we presented in “Policy mistakes provide upside potential for gold” and vary the assumptions on US Dollar movements and level of speculative positioning (presented above). We assume that US inflation will hover around 1.1% (around current levels), based on 1yr-1yr break-evens and nominal 10 year Treasury rates will also remain around current levels even if policy rates rise (we assume a bond curve flattening rather than a shift).

In a scenario where the US Dollar appreciates 5% and speculative positioning remains elevated, but moderates to 200,000 contracts, gold is likely to trade around US$1440/oz by June 2017. In the absence of any US Dollar appreciation, gold could trade closer to US$1500/oz.