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Gold And Silver Could Play Catch-Up In 2022

By Stefan GleasonMarket OverviewDec 27, 2021 12:07PM ET
Gold And Silver Could Play Catch-Up In 2022
By Stefan Gleason   |  Dec 27, 2021 12:07PM ET
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As an overall disappointing year for gold and silver markets winds to a close, metals investors are looking ahead to 2022.

There are good reasons for optimism – precious metals prices appear poised to reflect broader inflationary pressures – but the bullish outlook isn’t without risk.

One of the biggest threats to hard assets next year would be a rising US dollar index in anticipation of Federal Reserve monetary tightening.

Whereas the Fed has signaled its intent to raise interest rates later in the year, the European Central Bank has not. That could bode well for the Federal Reserve Note “dollar” as measured against the euro.

Some investors assume wrongly that a rising greenback on foreign currency exchanges spells doom for gold. While it can be a headwind, precious metals also have a precedent to rally alongside a nominally strong dollar.

This year, to put dollar “strength” in perspective, it is up about 7% against a basket of foreign currencies. In reality, the fiat currency has lost more purchasing power in 2021 than in any year since 1982. Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, hit an annual rate of 6.8% last month.

The dynamic that played out last year, in which precious metals markets were largely absent from the inflation scene, seems unlikely to repeat. They have a lot of catching up to do.

Low spot prices make the fundamental case for gold and silver stronger. Low prices for mined products mean miners have less incentive or ability to ramp up production in the face of rising demand.

The Silver Institute forecasts a supply deficit for the physical silver market in 2022. Analysts note that industrial demand is rising, especially on the green energy front, where the white metal is used in solar power and electric vehicle applications.

Gold Demand Could Spike In 2022

Demand for gold is also strengthening. Global jewelry demand recovered impressively this year, especially in India, which is culturally significant within the world’s biggest customer base.

Central bank buying of gold can expand if tensions rise with China, Russia, and other countries adversarial to the dollar as the world reserve currency. Meanwhile, inflation concerns recently prompted Ireland to add to its gold reserves for the first time in 12 years.

The big wild card for 2022 could be the extent of precious metals bought by investors and speculators. This year, bullion demand came in strong, causing premiums to stay elevated on many products, including American Eagles.

On the speculative side, however, futures trading has been dominated by institutional short sellers. Small speculators continue to be more enamored with Wall Street products and cryptocurrencies than with anything tangible that comes out of the ground.

If enthusiasm for paper and digital assets diminishes, then gold and silver markets could be prime beneficiaries. At some point, stimulus-propelled financial markets will run out of fuel. Inflation itself, though, is almost certain to persist. The question for investors is how to ride the next wave of inflation.

There are many potentially viable plays available – from equities (in favorable sectors), to cryptos, to real estate, to collectibles, to various hard assets. But at the core of any inflation protection strategy for 2022 (and beyond) is sound money itself in the form of physical gold and silver.

Gold And Silver Could Play Catch-Up In 2022

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Gold And Silver Could Play Catch-Up In 2022

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Comments (1)
Cathy Bartlett
Cathy Bartlett Dec 28, 2021 8:04AM ET
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It's ridiculous to believe that inflation is a low 6.8 percent.. We're closer to 17% if you count food, gas, and energy , and housing. The government lies and cooks the statistics, don't believe a word they say!! At the rate these sewer rats are printing $$$ Weimar hyperinflation is not far off...
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