Global stock markets moved higher in initial trading Monday on the news that Greek voters rebuffed the leftist anti-austerity party in favor of sticking with the Euro. The euphoria was short-lived however, as markets turned down soon thereafter on lingering concerns about the situation in Spain and Italy. Gold has been essentially flat on the news waiting for some more definitive signals, which may come from the Fed meeting tomorrow and Wednesday.
Though the Greek vote staved off the immediate disaster that may have materialized had Greece chosen to abandon the EU, it has not materially changed the situation in Europe. The debt crisis is still growing in severity and there is no solution on the horizon. As such, it’s no surprise that investors are avoiding European assets like the plague. Despite the positive outcome in Greece, Spanish bond yields touched new Euro-era highs today as the embattled nation’s borrowing costs exceeded 7.15%.
Perhaps even more important than the pro-austerity victory in Greece was the anti-austerity landslide in France. President Francois Hollande consolidated his grip on power as his socialist party won 314 seats in the national assembly, giving them an outright majority in both the senate and the lower house. This will enable Hollande to push through legislation and pursue his dovish monetary policies without compromise or restraint. France’s distinct move to the left may mark the single most important shift of power in the Euro zone in recent years.
Through all of this, attention has been diverted away from the United States, where festering problems continue to hinder the so-called “recovery”. A continual stream of weak economic data has analysts once again predicting some form of additional stimulus may come out of this weeks’ Fed meeting. Jobless claims have now risen for five of the last six weeks and there are no signs of improvement to come in the labor market. Consumer prices pushed lower last month, and soft inflation numbers have given the Fed a little more room to maneuver. Though the stabilization in Greece may have bought the Fed a bit more time, there is little doubt that they will act eventually if the labor market doesn’t show significant improvement.
The real strategic focus for investors remains on the US dollar. There is a consensus that treasuries are in a significant bubble, which means that gold may be far undervalued as a result. The only question is when the dollar bubble will burst and how quickly gold will rise when it does. This week’s Fed meeting has the potential to act as a trigger for gold as any announcement of easing could send the metal rocketing higher, as it has twice before. Even if it doesn’t, gold owners should still take heart in another simple fact: Tomorrow we will be one day closer to the “fiscal cliff”.
Nothing is more likely to rain on the dollar’s parade than a battle in Washington over the future of the towering pile of US debt. Though this year’s market has tested gold owners’ patience, they tend to remember one fact that treasuries buyers sometimes forget: the dollars’ only value is the world’s blind faith in the US government and economy. Given the choice between blind faith and patience, I’ll take the later.
Mike Getlin is Executive Vice President of Merit Financial, home to America's fastest growing physical gold IRA company. Please send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.