The gold price on Thursday consolidated strong gains notched up yesterday after the U.S. Federal Reserve shocked markets by indefinitely delaying cutbacks to its economic stimulus program.
In midday trade the metal was changing hands for $1,373, the highest since September 10, following a spike on Wednesday of more than $50 or over 4% to an after-hours high around the $1,360-an-ounce level.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was widely expected to announce a $10-billion to $20-billion reduction in the bank’s asset purchase program which was running at $85 billion a month, but a surprising 9:1 vote put off any decision on tapering.
While Bernanke said reductions in bond buying under the Fed’s quantitative easing program may still happen this year if the economy strengthens sufficiently, that is looking less and less likely.
Firstly, the next meeting is only a month from now and that’s probably too short a time period to gather enough “confirming evidence” that the economy is doing well to persuade Fed members it is time to act.
Secondly, the final meeting of 2013 is in December, but that’s very close to the end of Bernanke’s tenure and the FOMC may not want to make such a far-reaching decision on policy amid a changeover.
Leaving the decision on tapering to Bernanke’s successor provides a smoother transition and, on top of that, the most likely candidate to take over, Janet Yellen, is considered one of the strongest supporters of QE.
The bank’s QE program, which has pumped more than $3.6 trillion of easy money into financial markets to date, weakens the dollar and increases the risk of inflation.
From a standing start in December 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet is set to top $4 trillion by the end of the year.
The gold price has increased more than 60% since QE1, when the ruling price was $837 an ounce.
Reprinted by permission of Mining.com