While the price of gold remained steady when markets opened this past Monday and spot gold dipped a bit on Tuesday, the turmoil caused by the Greek default continues to roil the financial world. While the world’s financial attention is momentarily focused on the ongoing tragedy that is the Greek economy, most gold market watchers seemed to be focused primarily on the U.S. Fed. Analysts at Barclays affirm this with the observation, “In our view, the dominant issue for the gold price this year has been the prospect of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike.”
However, the lack of a Greek resolution added to new worries, and weaknesses in both Chinese and U.S. securities finally had an effect on Wednesday. August deliveries were priced up 1 percent, at $1,163.50 a troy ounce (Monday’s opening price) on the Comex. The counterbalancing effect of the world turbulence still reflects a focus on the Fed and short-term rates. In this environment, most analysts now believe there will be a greater hesitancy to raise those rates this year.
In fact, there is some thought that “The silver lining to this is you could get a more dovish Fed than you would have otherwise,” says Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist of BlackRock. At the same time, many observers do not think the possibility of a true default and Grexit is priced into the market. Hope springs seemingly eternal that Sunday’s emergency meeting will prevent the looming bankruptcy.
The real impact from any final Grexit (and increased concerns over other Eurozone partners Spain and Portugal) will be felt from a stronger dollar. Since gold is priced in dollars, it makes it more expensive to purchase the asset when buyers hold currencies that lose value in relationship to the U.S. benchmark. With the euro at a low of 1.06, further declines relative to the dollar will be reflected in a shift in buying gold and many other commodities.
The Greek leaders failed to lessen market concerns with an unacceptable proposal on Tuesday, and all eyes are now on an emergency Eurozone summit on Greece’s potential bankruptcy and exit from the Eurozone. Most analysts note that while the size of Greece’s economy makes the direct impact relatively insignificant, concerns over several other Euro partners are more urgent.
What makes the market particularly treacherous recently is the concern over the Chinese situation. Shanghai markets lost 32 percent of their value Wednesday in fierce trading, and the question is whether or not the selloff is over or will carry over to the Hong Kong market. As usual, long-term holders of gold can yawn over the current anxiety of traders. However, there will certainly be many anxious moments in the next few days for those sensitive to short-term price swings of gold, silver and a number of other commodities.