By Jeffrey Nichols
Of course, elections matter. But regardless of who moves into the White House this coming January, gold prices are set to zoom in the years ahead – in my view, more than doubling during the next President’s term.
What many Western investors – particularly Americans – still fail to realize is that investment demand for gold knows no borders. Indeed, it will be the growth in physical demand for gold – from India and greater China – that drives gold prices to unheard of heights over the next several years.
Political and social developments – especially the growth in middle classes with investible incomes in these countries – will be more important than who’s occupying the White House.
But short term, what matters most to gold-price volatility during the run-up to next week’s vote is uncertainty:
- Uncertainty about Secretary Clinton’s legal situation and the on-going FBI investigation;
- Uncertainty about prospective trade, monetary, and fiscal policies depending on which candidate is elected;
- And uncertainty about financial-market and economic prospects under one or the other candidate.
We can only speculate how gold prices might react to the election of one or the other candidate.
Clinton is viewed as the candidate of the status quo – with little change in policies from the Obama Administration and, unless the Democrats gain control of the Congress, four more years of political gridlock in Washington.
My guess is that Wall Street and foreign stock markets would be relieved by a Clinton victory, with equity prices posting brief short-term gains, and gold giving up the small gains it registered in the days immediately prior to the election.
On the other hand, Donald Trump is viewed as an unpredictable candidate whose policy proposals may be perceived as arbitrary and capricious.
His tough, protectionist, anti-trade stance could trigger selling on Wall Street and equity markets around the world – pushing the global economy into recession, undermining the dollar, and boosting safe-haven demand for gold.
At the same time, Trump’s maverick behavior and his scary talk about prospective U.S foreign policy – with respect to relations with allies and foes alike – raises perceived geopolitical risks and could trigger a rush into gold.
Although the election is less than a week away, there remains the possibility of more surprises – from the FBI, from the Donald Trump camp, or even from the Clinton campaign – with implications for gold-price volatility in the days ahead.