Thousands of political, business and cultural leaders are heading now towards Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum. On the eve of the world's biggest annual gathering of the rich and powerful, the International Monetary Fund released its newest world economic outlook. What are the forecasts – and their implications for the gold market?

 

Global Expansion Weakens

Well, the title of the IMF's update is telling: "A Weakening Global Expansion". The global economy is projected to grow at 3.5 percent this year, 0.2 percentage point below last October's projections and estimated performance in 2018. The revisions carry over from softer economic momentum in the second half of 2018, in particular in Germany, due to the problems of the automotive industry, and in Italy, due to the worries about sovereign and financial risks. Moreover, the experts acknowledge now the weakened financial sentiment and project deeper contraction in Turkey than previously anticipated.

What is the most important for the gold market, the US economic growth is expected to decline to 2.5 percent in 2019 (unchanged forecast from October) because of the unwinding of fiscal stimulus and further monetary tightening. The slowdown in America may push some investors into gold's arms, although, given the sluggish growth in Europe, US dollardenominated assets still look attractive.

 

While Risks Grow

The downward revisions may seem to be modest. However, the report does not end here. The problem is that risks to more significant downward corrections are rising. What are these risks? First, a further escalation of trade tensions. Higher trade uncertainty could further dampen investment and disrupt global supply chains. Second, a further deterioration of financial conditions: stock valuations went south, while credit spreads widened. Given a high level of debt, a more serious tightening of financial conditions may be particularly dangerous.

Last but not least, an important risk for the global economy is the possibility that China's growth slowdown could be faster than expected especially if trade tensions continue. And, of course, Brexit is a big question mark (the US federal government shutdown, if protracted, also poses a downside risk). Gold is a safe haven, so it welcomes rising risks.

 

Implication for Gold

The recent IMF's world economic outlook projects slower economic growth amid rising risks. The report is in line with the World Bank's report released earlier in January, which also said that "the outlook for the global economy in 2019 has darkened." (see the chart below).

Chart 1: Actual and forecasted global growth for the world (bars), advanced economies (red line) and emerging markets and developing countries (orange line) from 2010 to 2021 (source: World Bank).

Percent

What do all those gloomy forecasts imply for gold? Well, a lot. You see, we had a solid expansion in the last two years. Now, the world economy is growing more slowly than expected while downside risks are accumulating. It seems to be an excellent combination for gold, which should shine in a sentiment unfriendly toward risky assets.

To be clear, the slowdown is not the end of the world. There is no global recession around the corner. But, as we argued in the January edition of the Market Overview, 2019 may still be better for gold than 2018. The risk of a sharper decline in global growth has increased, after all. In particular, China's economy may negatively surprise us, as it transforms itself structurally amid trade tensions and high debt burden. According to the official data, the economic growth was 6.6 percent in 2018 – the slowest pace since 1990. And many economists do not trust the official figures, claiming that China's economy is actually more anemic (we will write more about China in the February edition of the Market Overview). As it was the case in 2015-2016, concerns about the Red Dragon's health can trigger abrupt selloffs in financial markets. Gold should shine, then.

All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits' employees and associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be a subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses were based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are believed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski's, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits' employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice.

Analysis feed

Latest Forex Analysis

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD surges above 1.1100 as Trump announces steps against China

EUR/USD is trading above 1.1100, up on the day. President Trump said he orders companies to search Chinese imports for drugs. Earlier he criticized Powell's lack of action. 

EUR/USD News

GBP/USD jumps above 1.2250 on USD weakness

GBP/USD is trading close to the monthly highs above 1.2250 as the US dollar falls following Powell's hint of cutting rates and Trump's angry response. 

GBP/USD News

USD/JPY plummets to ten-day lows below 106 as Trump goes berserk on Twitter

The USD/JPY came under strong selling pressure in the last hour and erased nearly 100 pips as US President Donald Trump's latest rant on Twitter forced investors to seek refuge and ramped up the demand for safe-haven JPY. 

USD/JPY News

Powell powerless against Trump's trade wars – US braces for recession, USD set to move

"The most powerful central banker in the world" – is how we and others characterize Fed Chair Jerome Powell. While that may be true – monetary policy is reaching its limits – especially in the face of a trade war.

Read more

Gold climbs to weekly tops, further beyond $1510 level

Gold reversed an early dip to $1493-92 support area and spiked back closer to weekly tops in reaction to China's retaliatory tariffs, albeit lacked any strong follow-through.

Gold News

Majors

Cryptocurrencies

Signatures