The price of gold took a dip Wednesday, finishing at its lowest level in a month. The primary reason seemed to be concerns on the part of investors that Federal Reserve might be ready to signal an interest rate hike as soon as Friday of this week.
That’s when Fed Chairwoman, Janet Yellen is set to speak at the Fed’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Some analysts believe a potential fall rate hike was foreshadowed by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fisher who said Sunday that the country was “close” to hitting targets for employment and inflation.
Why Gold Dipped
The price of gold sank as investors digested Vice Chairman Fisher’s remarks and in anticipation of what Yellen may have to say Friday. In other words, fear of a rate hike drove down the price of gold.
When interest rates rise, investors have somewhere else to go with their money besides precious metal. Also, higher interest rates tend to hold down or even reduce inflation. Inflation is good for gold. Deflation, not so much.
Stocks That Took A Hit
Among miners that shouldered the brunt of the price drop were Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXKC), Hecla Mining (NYSE:HLC), Kinross Gold (NYSE:KGCA), McEwen Mining (NYSE:MUXB) and Silver Standard Resources Stock not found SSRI.
This is not to say gold and silver stocks have done badly up to now. Quite the contrary, Hecla Mining has seen an incredible 164% increase in earnings, thanks to costs that are down 32% per ounce of silver and 28% per ounce of gold, along with higher production and rising prices.
The others have similar stories to tell. The question before investors has to do with whether what’s happening now is a minor pull back or the beginning of a long decline. The answer to that question may (or may not) be addressed Friday in Jackson Hole.
Looking Toward The Future
UBS strategist, Joni Teves told CNBC Monday that with bond prices at record highs along with asset buying from the Bank of England gold should continue to benefit from what she called a “global yield hunt.”
Teves added, "I think there is also a lot of uncertainty as to how central banks can normalize policy and I think that is underpinning gold at the moment."
Overall forecasts by UBS call for gold to average $1,400 per ounce next year. In addition, Teves said gold production would likely decrease resulting in support for higher prices.