The month of June has been stocked with several potentially market-moving events and one of them is now in the rear-view mirror. The Federal Reserve announced on Tuesday that they wouldn't be raising interest rates this month (June), but have left the door open for two possible hikes before 2016 comes to a close.
The immediate winner in the wake of this announcement was gold, which briefly broke $1300 on news that the US dollar wouldn't be strengthening imminently.
A rate hike had been widely expected until a dismal jobs report earlier in June, which abruptly changed expectations for the meeting. Since that anemic jobs report, gold has been steadily rising and the Fed's recent decision to “stay put” could propel it even further.
All focus now shifts to the potential departure of Britain from the European Union ("Brexit") and the July jobs report.
Unless job creation picks up to somewhere near 200k, it now seems likely that the Federal Reserve could be on hold at least until September. For all the gold traders out there, that means the next jobs report will serve as a very important event.
On the other hand, a strong jobs report could mean the Federal Reserve does raise rates in July, which could quickly flip the script on gold’s recent progress.
Brexit, which will be put to a vote on June 23rd, is another matter altogether.
In the last couple months sentiment on the possible departure of Britain from the European Union has shifted considerably. Over that time, the "leave" caucus seems to have gained momentum in preliminary polling, an outcome that seemed fairly unlikely in early 2016.
Obviously the "stay" outcome would be the least impacting on global markets as things would largely remain status quo. In terms of a “leave” decision, the outlook is a bit more fuzzy.
Considering historical “surprises” in the market, one would think that a "leave" result might initially spook global equity markets and drive prices lower. However, if the all else remains the same going forward (Federal Reserve stays put in July), there may be room for a rebound as investors continue to grasp for yield/return in this negative-interest-rate-policy (NIRP) era.
If Britain does vote to leave the European Union, the process isn’t clear, nor is the timeline. Such a decision could also re-charge central bank readiness to support the global economy - which sounds a lot like status quo, as well.
If you think gold could gain momentum from uncertainty surrounding Brexit (i.e. "flight to safety"), you might consider watching a recent episode of Market Measures.
On the show, hosts Tom Sosnoff and Tony Battista present research showing that there's no statistically significant correlation between gold prices and elevated levels in the VIX - according to data analyzed by tastytrade from 2004 to present.
This finding goes against conventional thinking - with the average person likely thinking that gold appreciates rapidly in price when volatility increases. However, the findings clearly show otherwise.
Another piece of research presented on the show suggests that gold prices themselves aren't highly correlated to the S&P 500 (which you might have already inferred from gold’s lack of correlation to the VIX). Consequently, a gold-related volatility trade may help further diversify your portfolio, depending on your strategy and approach to risk.
If nothing more, the data presented on Market Measures suggests that gold traders should be more cognizant of currency movements and decisions by central banks as compared to the general direction of equity markets and events that may affect them (i.e. “Brexit”).
No matter your strategy, the jobs report in July certainly deserves your full attention, as does the ongoing price for a barrel of oil.
If you have any questions on upcoming market events or gold-related trades, we hope you’ll reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!
Sage Anderson has an extensive background trading equity derivatives and managing volatility-based portfolios. He has traded hundreds of thousands of contracts across the spectrum of industries in the single-stock universe.