22 April 2013: Gold rebounds; USD/JPY 99,84

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Last week was dominated by an extraordinary fall of USD 250 fall in gold prices and heavy losses in other commodities. Gold demonstrated, however, strong resilience and staged a rebound. Gold is hundred dollar up from the bottom of USD 1322 an ounce last week. Copper is still weak. While Brent crude again trades above USD 100 a barrel. Strong retail buying in Indian and China strengthened gold which was seen as a buying opportunity. Gold reached the USD 1400 mark on Friday and trades at 1422 in Asia. Many investors have kept their strong faith in gold on expectations of high inflation and governments being unable to deal with it, and continues to buy gold.

The G-20 meeting in Washington ended on Friday without any conclusive results. Since 2010 the group has turned from being a cohesive group of the world’s most important economies into a body that spends hours of negotiating the punctuation in a communique. Japan was the focus for attention. In spite of the fact that the Japanese yen, JPY, has depreciated 20% in relation to most currencies since November last year, G-20 accepted Japan’s explanation that its monetary policy is aimed at price stabilization and economic recovery. Its strong monetary easing does not intend to manipulate its exchange rate.

As expected JPY as a result of the meeting, continued to slide in Asia this morning. USD/JPY reached 99,84 and is again licking the symbolic 100 level which most likely is going to be broken during the day encouraged by the Group of 20 endorsing of Japan’s reflationary policies. Following the meeting, players feel comfortable selling the yen further. Asian shares inched higher, but investors remained wary of volatility given the uncertainty of global growth prospects. Global stock markets might be on the verge of a selloff.

The International Monetary Fund, IMF’s forecasts for the G-20 meeting were out of date no sooner than it was presented. Weaker US labor market figures and Chinese economic growth in the first quarter, make it necessary to downgrade growth forecasts for the world economy. The G-20 meeting also given another stark warning that economic forecasts is not any precise science. The Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart’s have since 2010 postulated that when debt reaches 90% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth automatically fell. This postulate has been the basis for government’s austerity measures especially in the Euro zone.

An Excel error put serious question marks with the evidence the economist have built their postulate on. For the first time in years it thereby is possible to put questions with postulates presented as science. The austerity measures in Europe are as most other economic theories are based on political attitudes. When such postulates end up in mass unemployment and social misery it might be right time to take a break and ask whether the austerity measures resulting in mass unemployment and social misery are the right prescribed medicine. 

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