This morning’s big news item was the fact that US Q1 GDP growth came in at 2.2%, well under expectations of 2.6% growth predicted by analysts and well down from Q4 2011 growth of 3.0%. Under "normal" circumstances, such a number would have been expected to put downward pressure on the bellwether copper market. ‘Twas not the case however as copper shot up on the news bursting through the 50 day moving average in the process. What gives? Simple – we are now in an environment in which the more bad news we get, the more optimistic traders are becoming that the next round of QE is coming right up.
That is what gold began sniffing out in yesterday’s session and appears to be continuing today. We have been accustomed to seeing these rotten numbers generate the risk aversion trades, trades in which commodities in general are dumped and the Dollar is bid higher. We are now seeing a change in trader perceptions, which after all is what runs markets, in which the steady trickle of news showing a deteriorating growth pattern in the US is being met with increased expectations for QE sooner rather than later.
In other words, it is QE ON instead of RISK OFF.
As long as this perception continues, gold is going to move higher. The trick is just how bad do traders think the news has to get before it forces the hands of the Fed.
I think it should be noted here that we also have politics at play as far as the Fed is concerned. Governor Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, has made it clear that he is not a big fan of Chairman Bernanke. Bernanke serves at the pleasure of the current President Obama. If Obama loses the upcoming election, Bernanke is OUT AND HE KNOWS IT. Now, maybe he no longer wants to play MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE, but methinks very few men are able to gladly relinquish such power. My guess is that he is going to make sure that if his boss goes down in flames at the next election, at least it will not be on Bernanke’s account for not acting to keep the markets from sinking lower.