Look at the chart below. It’s indexed at 100 on the day the Federal Reserve raised rates in 2015 and 2016 (December 16 and 14, respectively). Although past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, gold prices so far this year appear to be tracking last year’s performance pretty closely, suggesting further upside potential.
In the first half of 2016, gold rallied more than 31 percent, from a low of $1,046 in December 2015 to a high of $1,375 in July. With mid-December 2016 as our starting point, a similar 31 percent move this year would add close to $360 to the price of gold, taking it to above $1,520 an ounce.
Gold Has a 100-Year History of Outperforming All Major Currencies
In its 2017 outlook, the influential World Gold Council (WGC) listed six major trends that will likely support gold demand throughout the year, including heightened geopolitical risks (Brexit, Trump, the global rise of populism), a potential stock market correction, rising inflation expectations and long-term Asian growth.
The group also calls out currency depreciation. Over the past 100 years, gold has strongly outperformed all major currencies. Whereas global gold supply grows at an annual average of only 2 percent, there’s no limit to how much fiat money can be printed.
Inflation and currency depreciation are among the Fear Trade’s triggers that I often write and speak about.
Spending Watchdog: US Is on an “Unsustainable Fiscal Path”
This point about currency depreciation is especially relevant in light of an alarming new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the nation’s watchdog. According to the report, the federal government’s spending is “unsustainable,” and if no action is taken to rectify the problem, the debt-to-GDP ratio will soon exceed its historical high of 106 percent, set in 1946.
To be clear, that means our nation’s debt will be larger than its economy.
The federal deficit increased to $587 billion in 2016, after six years of declining deficits. Spending increases were driven by entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, which surged 4.9% and 5.3%, respectively, during the year.
Whether Trump can change any of this, we’ll just have to wait and see. He seems interested in lowering costs and bringing some fiscal sanity to the government, as demonstrated by his criticism of Boeing over the perceived cost of Air Force One. At the same time, massive tax cuts, coupled with a $1 trillion infrastructure package, will likely drive up deficit spending even more.
All the more reason to have a portion of your portfolio invested in gold and gold stocks.
In the meantime, I wish President Trump all the best!