Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gold and Dollar Going Into Decouple Phase ?

Gold bulls are fretting what looks like a dollar rally with legs that could go on for months. And of course everybody knows that if the dollar goes up, gold must go down, right? Well not so fast. That is the usual correlation, but what if I told you that it was possible for the dollar and gold to both be in a bull move for a year's time? Impossible? Well, it has happened twice in the last 10 years:

This spans from Dec. 2000 to Feb. 2002 and both gold and the dollar were climbing. And again in 2005:

Both these curves seem to be happy and sad over the same things. We may be entering into another such phase. In the above 2005 case, the U.S. was raising interest rates (raising the dollar) and China was reworking their currency and wanting to buy gold. Now, interest rates have no where to go but up, and China, India, and many other big money interests are wanting to be buyers of gold again. There have been some articles popping up about a gold/dollar decoupling the last couple months like one at The Firecracker Report - Gold Decoupling From the Dollar and Emerging as the New Flight to Safety Trade where a progression is given over the last few months to a decoupling. In table form it looks like this:

Nov 4 -54%
Oct -71%
Sept -80%
Aug -86%
July -92%

The percent figures are the chart correlations, negative meaning inverse correlation - the more normal case for gold and the dollar. Over the last decade (Jan '99 to May '08) the gold/dollar correlation has averaged -84%. Over the April to Dec '05 period shown above, the correlation got up to as high as a +66%. From the table's tabulation of the last five months, we seem to be trending into another of those positive correlation periods - perhaps due to the same reasons as the '05 case - bias toward higher interest rates and BRIC nations and central banks wanting to buy gold.

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