EC What Will The U.S. Dollar Ring In For 2021?

The fate of the U.S. Dollar will weigh heavily on the future of the precious metals in 2021. At first glance, the USDX’s prospects look rather bleak in the first months of the year, but as the pages of the book turn, the dollar’s likely later ascension could prove rather bearish for gold and the PMs.

Breaking hearts as the USD Index falls in and out of love, the greenback continues to leave bulls at the altar, which is likely to have important implications for the gold market in the following weeks. Dressed to impress, investors lined the cathedral aisles as the USDX looked ready to commit to the 90-level.

But as cold feet turned into a dash for the exit, 2020 ended without a celebration.

However, as we enter 2021 and net-short futures positions (non-commercial traders) remain at their highest level since 2006, the slightest shift in sentiment could have wedding bells ringing again.

Please see below:

Figure 1 – Net-short Futures Positions

If you analyze the second red box (on the right side), you can see that the 2018 top in net-short futures positions ended with a violent short-covering rally, which propelled the USDX nearly 11% higher from trough to peak.

Figure 2 – U.S. Dollar Index

In this week’s early trading, the USDX moved lower, almost back to the 2020 lows. This was disappointing to anyone hoping that the December 31 rally was the beginning of a sharp rally, somewhat similar to what we saw in early September. In reality, the Dec. 31 rally and today’s decline don’t change much. It is not the immediate-term that is particularly important right now, but the medium and long-term pictures. The indications coming from them are much more decisive, and more important.

And while the USDX remains indecisive right now, its price action still follows a familiar playbook: In 2018, the USDX dipped below the 1.618 Fibonacci extension level before circling back with a vengeance (The initial bottom occurred in early 2018, with the final bottom not far behind.) Moreover, the 2018 USDX bottom also marked the 2018 top in gold, silver, and the gold miners (depicted in the below).

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