Gold Summer Doldrums 2

Early summer is the weakest time of the year seasonally for gold, silver, and their miners’ stocks. With traders’ attention diverted to vacations and summer fun, their precious-metals interest and investment demand wane considerably. Thus this entire sector, and often the markets in general, suffer a seasonal lull this time of year. But these summer doldrums offer the best seasonal buying opportunities of the year.

This doldrums term is very apt for gold’s summer predicament. It describes a zone in the world’s oceans surrounding the equator. There hot air is constantly rising, creating long-lived low-pressure areas. They are often calm, with little or no prevailing winds. History is full of accounts of sailing ships getting trapped in this zone for days or even weeks, unable to make any headway. The doldrums were murder on ships’ morale.

Crews had no idea when the winds would pick up again, while they continued burning through their precious stores of food and drink. Without moving air, the stifling heat and humidity were suffocating on these ships long before air conditioning. Misery and boredom were extreme, leading to fights breaking out and occasional mutinies. Being trapped in the doldrums was viewed with dread, it was a very trying experience.

Gold investors can somewhat relate. Like clockwork nearly every summer, gold starts drifting listlessly sideways. It often can’t make significant progress no matter what the trends looked like heading into June, July, and August. As the days and weeks slowly pass, sentiment deteriorates markedly. Patience is gradually exhausted, supplanted with deep frustration. Plenty of traders capitulate, abandoning ship.

Thus after decades of trading gold, silver, and their miners’ stocks, I’ve come to call this time of year the summer doldrums. Junes and Julies in particular are usually desolate sentiment wastelands for precious metals, totally devoid of recurring seasonal demand surges. Unlike the rest of the year, these summer months simply lack any major income-cycle or cultural drivers of outsized gold investment demand.

The vast majority of the world’s investors and speculators live in the northern hemisphere, so markets take a back seat to the great joys of summer. Traders take advantage of the long sunny days and kids being out of school to go on extended vacations, hang out with friends, and enjoy life. And when they aren’t paying much attention to the markets, naturally they aren’t allocating much new capital to gold.

Given gold’s dull summer action historically, it’s never wise to expect too much from it this time of year. Summer rallies can happen, but they aren’t common. So expectations need to be tempered, especially in June and July. That early-1990s Gin Blossoms song “Hey Jealousy” comes to mind, declaring “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.” The markets are ultimately an expectations game.

Quantifying gold’s summer seasonal tendencies during bull markets requires all relevant years’ price action to be recast in perfectly-comparable percentage terms. That’s accomplished by individually indexing each calendar year’s gold price to its last close before market summers, which is May’s final trading day. That’s set at 100 and then all gold-price action that summer is calculated off that common indexed baseline.

So gold trading at an indexed level of 105 simply means it has rallied 5% from May’s final close, while 95 shows it’s down 5%. This methodology renders all bull-market-year gold summers in like terms. That’s critical since gold’s price range has been so vast, from $257 in April 2001 to $1894 in August 2011. That span encompassed gold’s last secular bull, which enjoyed a colossal 638.2% gain over those 10.4 years!

So 2001 to 2011 were certainly bull years. 2012 was technically one too, despite gold suffering a major correction following that powerful bull run. At worst that year, gold fell 18.8% from its 2011 peak. That was not quite enough to enter formal bear territory at a 20% drop. But 2013 to 2015 were definitely brutal bear years, which need to be excluded since gold behaves very differently in bull and bear markets.

In early 2013 the Fed’s wildly-unprecedented open-ended QE3 campaign ramped to full speed, radically distorting the markets. Stock markets levitated on the Fed’s implied backstopping, slaughtering demand for alternative investments led by gold. In Q2’13 alone, gold plummeted by 22.8% which proved its worst quarter in an astounding 93 years! Gold’s bear continued until the Fed’s initial rate hike of this cycle in 2015.

The day after that first rate hike in 9.5 years in mid-December 2015, gold plunged to a major 6.1-year secular low. Then it surged out of that irrational rate-hike scare, formally crossing the +20% new-bull threshold in early March 2016. Ever since, gold has remained in this young bull. At worst in December 2016 after gold was crushed on the post-election Trumphoria stock-market surge, it had only corrected 17.3%.

1 2 3 4
View single page >> |

Disclaimer: We publish acclaimed weekly and monthly newsletters offering ...

more
How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience.

Comments

Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.