Views on commodities and energy
Plotlines: Gold falls vs oil, a murky inflation signal
Gold’s oil-buying power is at its lowest in three years. (The chart shows the price of oil rising relative to the price of gold.) Hedge funds and other traders who play the gold/oil spread could be taking profits. Otherwise, this is hard to explain, since gold is considered a leading indicator of inflation.
In the past two weeks, crude oil prices rose to a record near $120 a barrel, while the spot price of gold fell from around $950 to $870 an ounce. Today an ounce of gold buys 7.65 barrels of oil. When gold was near $1,000 an ounce earlier this year, an ounce bought more than 10 barrels of oil. Gold’s weakest point relative to oil was in 2005 around 6 barrels.
Is the underperformance signalling that inflation expectations are overblown? Perhaps the Fed knows something … it cut a key interest rate another quarter percentage point on Wednesday and said it expected inflation to moderate in coming quarters, as energy and commodity prices level out. “I am still not getting why gold is trading down here and crude is up there. So something’s gotta give,” said Jonathan Jossen, an independent floor trader on the COMEX gold floor.