Tag: equilibrium prices

Until recently, gold prices had been rising. If you watch TV, you can hardly have failed to notice the adverts offering cash back for your gold. After peaking on the 2nd December 2009, however, at about $1220 an ounce, the price of gold fell almost $100 in just four trading days.

Over the past two months, we’ve seen a fluctuating US dollar and a fluctuating price of gold. In the news item ‘A golden age‘ we looked at the factors that led to a rising price of gold and one key factor was the weakness of the dollar. However, the dollar’s downward spiral appears to have halted, at least for the time being.

Figures for US GDP were higher than expected, with increases in economic activity in the 4th quarter of 2009. This may partly explain why the dollar strengthened, and prices of gold began to fall, as people began investing in US assets. And it was not just gold that fell – there was speculation that the price of copper too would fall as investors switched to US assets.

Then, at the end of January the dollar fell against most currencies and a variety of refined products recovered from recent losses incurred. This pause in the demand for the dollar may cause gold prices to increase once again, as traditionally, gold moves inversely to Greenback. Although the price of gold was down 1.1% for the month of January, speculation that the US budget deficit could be as big as $1.6 trillion could mean further support for gold and testing times to come for the dollar.

At the beginning of February 2010, the US dollar weakened against the euro, as investors favoured a return to riskier assets in search of higher returns, encouraged by signs of strengthening manufacturing in key economies. With the global economy coming out of the worst downturn in decades, will the dollar begin to strengthen?

Dollar advances on reduced demand for risk Wall Street Journal (15/1/10)
US dollar on defensive as risk appetite rises Business News (2/2/10)
US dollar on defensive as risk appetite rises Business News (2/2/10)
Why the price of gold is rising BBC News (13/10/09)
Gold trend remains firmly down despite dollar rally confronted by massive US budge deficit The Market Oracle (1/2/10)
Gold may rise for first time in week as dollar spurs demand The China Post (2/2/10)
Dollar and Yen fall as optimism returns Daily Forex Strategy Briefing, Hans Nilsson (2/2/10)
Gold declines for second day, as dollar’s advance curbs demand Bloomberg, Kim Kyoungwha (8/1/10)
Crude ends up as equities rise, dollar slips Reuters (25/1/10)
Copper may decline as stronger dollar saps demand Bloomberg (22/1/10)

Questions

  1. How is the price of gold determined? Use a diagram to illustrate this process. If there is a change in demand or supply for gold, what factors will affect the extent of the price change?
  2. Why does a strengthening dollar imply a lower price of gold?
  3. Why will a large US budget deficit support gold, but test the dollar?
  4. How is the exchange rate determined? What factors affect the supply of dollars and the demand for dollars?
  5. What are the main factors that could explain why there has been a rise in the dollar? Could speculation play a role?