Is Reserve Bank of Australia a New Friend of Gold?

Reserve Bank of Australia joined the chorus of easing central banks, cutting interest rates to record lows. Predictably, that sent the Aussie dollar plunging. Should gold bulls cheer this move?

Reserve Bank of Australia Slashes Interest Rates

The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the official interest rate from 1.00 percent to 0.75 percent earlier today. As the chart below shows, the 0.25 percentage point moved the interest rate to a record low level, following cuts in June and July.

Chart 1: RBA’s cash rate target from February 2000 to October 2019.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe explained the move as follows:

The Board took the decision to lower interest rates further today to support employment and income growth and to provide greater confidence that inflation will be consistent with the medium-term target.

Lowe also provided significant forward guidance, saying that “It is reasonable to expect that an extended period of low interest rates will be required in Australia to reach full employment and achieve the inflation target.”

Australia has avoided recession for 28 years running, but risks have increased over the last year. Let’s count the factors: slowing growth, uptick in the unemployment rate, and subdued inflation and the property market. The cut is a response to these risks, in particular to the slowdown in economic growth. The GDP expanded 1.4 percent annually in the second quarter of 2019, the worst annual growth recorded since Great Recession. However, the unemployment rate remains low, while the federal budget is essentially balanced right now.

RBA’s Cut Puzzle and Gold           

So, the main macroeconomic indicators are reasonably good, but interest rates are at record lows. Doesn’t that remind you of something? Maybe the Fed’s cut puzzle? There are two explanations.

One is that the RBA has just jumped on the bandwagon of dovish U-turns among central banks. The Fed inaugurated the fresh round of global monetary easing in July, followed by the ECB in September and several other central banks have cut interest rates this year amid trade wars, slowing economic growth and subdued inflation. You see, when the Fed and ECB eased their stance, you have to follow – otherwise, your currency would appreciate. But policymakers prefer to devaluate their currencies in an attempt to stimulate exports and grow at the expense of other countries. The competitive devaluation, when intense enough, is fundamentally supportive for the gold prices.

The second possible explanation is that the recent correction in the housing prices will continue, despite some rebound. Or, that it has not been a correction, but the beginning of the housing bust. It’s true that Australia has dodged recession for 28 year, but it was largely caused by strong Chinese demand for the country’s raw materials. Now, the Chinese economy is slowing, so both the imports to China and China’s capital flows into Australia’s real estate market are falling, which finally popped the debt-fueled property bubble. It could increase the safe-haven demand for gold, but rather only in Australia. Unless, of course, the global financial crisis will start this time in the Land Down Under.

Implications for Gold

Today RBA’s interest rate cut shows that beneath the surface the Australian economy might suffer significant economic problems. Or, that the RBA has just joined to the dovish crowd so as not to lose the country’s competitiveness. Theoretically, this should be positive for gold. But, in practice, the yellow metal reacts much more to the developments in the U.S. economy and the greenback. Sorry, Aussie! The recent correction in the gold market is coinciding with recent hints from Richard Clarida, the influential Fed Vice Chair, that he does not see a pressing need for new rate cuts to push inflation back up.

If you enjoyed the above analysis, we invite you to check out our other services. We provide detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. If you’re not ready to subscribe yet and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today!

Disclaimer: Please note that the aim of the above analysis is to discuss the likely long-term impact of the featured phenomenon on the price of gold and this analysis does not indicate (nor does it aim to do so) whether gold is likely to move higher or lower in the short- or medium term. In order to determine the latter, many additional factors need to be considered (i.e. sentiment, chart patterns, cycles, indicators, ratios, self-similar patterns and more) and we are taking them into account (and discussing the short- and medium-term outlook) in our trading alerts.

Thank you.

 Arkadiusz Sieron
Sunshine Profits‘ Gold News and Gold Market Overview Editor

* * * * *

All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits’ associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be a subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski’s, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits’ employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.