Monday, February 15, 2010


The challenge now is that a longer term view will reveal the true relationship between interest rates and gold.

You can see from the following chart that gold topped about a year before interest rates entered a multi decade bear market. Gold also began a long term secular bull market 7 years before interest rates bottomed.

One can plainly see that each asset class marches to its own fundamental driver. If the last cycle is any indication we shouldn't expect a top in gold until interest rates near the end of the secular bull cycle. Since these cycles tend to run for many years and this one appears to be just starting we could see gold rising for a long time yet using this criteria.

The truth is that the secular bull will run until it becomes extremely overvalued. At that point liquidity will start to leak out of the commodity markets, specifically gold, and find its way into undervalued assets.

This will happen when we reach a Dow:gold ratio of 1:1 or close to 1. At that time we will see a buying panic as the public becomes convinced that gold is a "sure thing". Just like they were convinced that tech was a no brainer and just like they believed that real estate never goes down.

Trust me we will see the same mentality in the commodity markets. You want to know how I know? Because human nature never changes. When something goes up long enough and far enough the masses will pile in, they always do. It's how all major secular bull markets end.

When that starts to happen smart money, money driven by logic instead of emotion, will start to sell gold and go looking for undervalued assets. By that time it will be stocks. Stocks will be so beaten up by then that no one will want to own them. We will see the Dow trading at single digit P/E's. Dividend yields will be between 6 and 10%.

At that point smart money will recognize true value in good companies that are being given away for pennies on the dollar.

Let's face it no matter how much we want to believe otherwise gold only has value because we say it does. If all the gold in the world were to disappear tomorrow it would only cause a minor blip on the global economy.

Real value is companies producing goods that the world must have to continue. At some point people will start to recognize that gold, a nonessential shiny metal, is being priced completely irrationally and that good companies with real profits making essential products for continued human existence are being given away. At that point the secular trends will flip and gold will re-enter another long term bear market and stocks a new secular bull.

Going back to the chart. Gold is still in a secular bull and that bull has nothing to do with interest rates and everything to do with human nature.

All in all, I still like those apples :-)