Will England vote to leave the European Union this week?
This momentous decision, known as “Brexit” (British exit) could impact the currency markets and your portfolio for years to come. And the vote is too close to call.
According to a Bloomberg survey of traders and analysts, gold prices could rally to their highest point in more than two years if Brexit passes.
“There’s more upside risk for gold than there is downside,” says Josh Crumb, chief strategy officer for GoldMoney.
Money managers around the world agree: they recently increased net-long positions in gold futures and options by 29 percent to 240,862 contracts in the week ended June 14, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. Compare that to the all-time high of 253,653 in August 2011 — just a month before gold futures reached a record $1,923.70 an ounce.
Why? According to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, all members of the European Union would suffer and the postwar structure of Europe could be thrown into turmoil if England exits.
Mr. Tusk said: “No one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be. As a historian, I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the E.U., but also of Western political civilization.”
Decision TIme for England
The decision British voters make will have far-reaching consequences for Europe, global investors and the precious metals markets. After all, the U.K. accounts for 13% of the EU’s population and nearly 15% of its economic output. Brexit calls into question the very future of the EU itself at a crucial time when Europe is trying to jumpstart its economy after a decade-long slump.
Supporters of Brexit argue that the EU creates a massive refugee problem, boosts unemployment and costs the British a fortune in dues while imposing burdensome regulations.
Opponents of Brexit argue that the U.K., with less than 1% of the world’s population and less than 3% of its output, can achieve its goals more effectively by staying in the EU. If Brexit passes, Britain could be dealt a crushing economic blow. Brexit could make Britain poorer, hurt British trade with Europe and reduce incomes and productivity. And leaving the EU is likely irreversible.
Experts believe that a British exit could create a spillover effect from roiling currency markets as investors abandon currency-based assets and headed for the safety of gold and silver.
Brexit and Gold Prices
To be sure, the Brexit decision could create a short-term spike in gold prices. However, the broader reality is that financial market uncertainty is rising regardless and this reality has been boosting the safe haven appeal of gold and silver all along. Since the start of 2016, gold has rallied over 20% compared with anemic gains for the S&P 500.
With all the unknowns about the future of the EU, the Fed’s confusion about interest-rate policy and the rise of nationalism and protectionism in the campaign of Donald Trump, investors have no shortage of reasons to feel extremely anxious. Add negative interest rates in Europe and Japan and a weaker U.S. dollar and you can easily see why the price of gold could be substantially higher in the years ahead.
“The big picture for gold is still quite bullish as real interest rates remain negative nearly everywhere, including here in the United States,” said Michael Armbruster, principal and co-founder at Altavest. We look for gold to make another push higher after the Brexit vote.”
Even if Britain votes to remain in the EU, the price of gold is unlikely to see much downside. The fundamental conditions for higher investor anxiety and greater fear in the financial markets are squarely in place. This could be an opportune time to buy gold for the first time or increase your gold holdings.
Brexit Loss Could Be Gold’s Gain
Gold and silver investors generally do well in times when momentous and historical decisions like Brexit weigh on the financial markets. No one really knows what will happen after June 23, 2016, which is all the more reason to get prepared today for any eventuality! The future of your retirement could be at stake.