Predicting, especially the future, is very difficult. Still, let's try to figure out what investors should expect from the gold market next year. For sure, in the long run, the price of gold will mainly depend on the U.S. dollar, the real interest rates, and the market uncertainty. How will these factors develop and affect the gold market?
Well, as one can see in the chart below, the level of investors' confidence has strengthened recently, as both the market volatility (represented by the CBOE Volatility Index) and credit spreads (illustrated by the BofA Merrill Lynch US High Yield Option-Adjusted Spread) have diminished after the U.S. presidential election. Hence, the risk aversion should be low for a while, and so the safe-haven demand for gold. Surely, if such risks as China's hard landing, the banking crisis in the Eurozone or the turmoil in the U.S. bond markets materialize, gold may again shine as a safe-haven asset. However, investors should remember that gold failed to rally on negative news in 2016, while stock markets flourished.
Chart 1: The CBOE Volatility Index (green line, left axis) and BofA Merrill Lynch US High Yield Option-Adjusted Spread (red line, right axis) in 2016.
And what about the U.S. dollar and real interest rates? As the next chart shows, both indices have been rising since October, which corresponded to the plunge in gold prices.
Chart 2: The U.S. dollar index (green line, left scale, Trade Weighted Major U.S. Dollar Index) and the U.S. real interest rates (green line, left scale, yields on 5-year Treasury Inflation-Indexed Security) in 2016.