Strong U.S. Dollar Weakens Gold Prices this September by Frank Holmes
Last week I wrote about the historic correlation between the month of September and the strength of gold. Now it appears that this September might be shaping up as one not to remember but forget.
Based on data reaching back to 1969, gold rises 2.1 percent on average in September. Ten days into this year’s month, however, the precious metal has lost 2.6 percent, slipping from $1,288 to $1,254.
As I pointed out last week, a dip such as this might be common in other months, but it’s somewhat rare in September. In the last 20 years, there have been only five Septembers in which gold prices ended lower than they started: 1996, 2000, 2006, 2011 and 2013. Although we remain optimistic, 2014 might see another such down September.
So What Gives?
September is statistically both the best month for gold and worst month for stocks. Though there isn’t an absolute certainty that each September will be as equally kind to gold, decades’ worth of data support this inverse relationship. Investors, aware of the probability, typically move some of their stock positions into gold.
But another inverse relationship exists that also influences gold’s performance: the relative strength of the U.S. dollar. When the dollar does well, many investors choose greenbacks rather than yellow metal as a reliable safe haven from volatility.
This month, the inversion has only intensified as the U.S.’s ISM Manufacturing Index for August rose to a three-year high of 59.0, strengthening the dollar. While a jump in the ISM index is a welcome event, commodities such as gold tend to take it on the chin.
Another factor weighing on the metal is the weakening euro, which statistically has the opposite effect. When the euro is down, so too is gold because dollar-denominated gold becomes more expensive for Europeans and other non-Americans. Recently the eurozone’s currency hit 14-month lows against the dollar.
Again, even though this particular September has thus far fallen below expectations, we remain bullish on gold in our Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) and World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX). As I’ve frequently written about, the Love Trade is a reliable occurrence around this time of year that helps bolster the metal’s performance.
And as always, we at U.S. Global Investors recommend a 10 percent weighting in gold: 5 percent in bullion, the other 5 percent in gold stocks, then rebalance every year.