Investors looking for a golden opportunity may just want to focus their sights on gold this fall. As Americans make their way into voting booths this November, gold has the potential to soar rapidly if Donald Trump wins the election.
Gold prices will likely rise steadily with a Hillary Clinton victory on November 8th as she would surely continue similar economic and fiscal policies pursued by the Obama administration. Effectively, it would be business as usual and Wall Street would be unlikely to flinch.
The latest polls show Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over Donald Trump. Most polls show her with a 2.5% lead amongst likely voters. However, her campaign has been struggling to maintain momentum and questions related to her record and background continue to weigh heavily in the minds of registered voters. It’s a heavy burden that has steadily eroded her lead over Trump in the past few months.
The presidential debates are going to go a long way towards solidifying voters’ image of both presidential candidates. Trump and Hillary are highly polarizing, and neither has the ability to energize the vast majority of independent voters who will determine the outcome of the election. If Republican “get out the vote” efforts pay off, it could lead to a November surprise simply based on the number of people they are able to get to the polls.
Unsurprisingly, recent polls have an inherent weakness. They generally ignore voters who tend to keep their opinions to themselves. In this election cycle, many voters are keeping their opinions and candidate choices close to their vests. Indeed, many are fearful of being branded as a “Reactionary Redneck” by the left, or as a “Progressive Pawn” by the right. That’s why pundits are cautioning about the accuracy of polling in this election.
Should Trump pull out from behind and win the election, it will send shockwaves through Wall Street. The stock market would face a considerable sell-off as investors fear the impact his cabinet changes and policies would cause. Many investors would seek safe shelter within stable investments such as gold and other precious metals. Even a 1% flight from stocks to gold could send the price of gold up 10% in the week following the election. By the end of the year, gold could rise upwards of 25% which would increase the value of gold to anywhere between $1,750 and $2,000 per troy ounce.
This is all speculation, but there is an historic precedent that shows gold rises after caustic and divisive elections. For instance, gold’s value rose sharply following the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976. It rose after the disputed election of George W. Bush in 2000, and the surprising victory of the inexperienced Barack Obama against the seasoned John McCain in 2008.
The value of gold could even rise should Trump win and then sink in popularity following an election. This occurred when Richard Nixon fell from grace in 1974. Thus, whether Trump or Hillary wins, there is the strong potential that the skeletons in either of their closets could come back to life, bring their administrations down, and send gold prices through the roof as investors seek stability.
A View from Europe
Dutch bank ABN Amro is predicting gold could reach $1,850 in the immediate aftermath of a Trump victory. ABN Amro’s Georgette Boele has charted the value of gold and its price appreciation and declines throughout the administrations of every U.S. president since Gerald Ford. Her research shows that gold’s largest gains occurred during Jimmy Carter’s administration when it rose 338.5%. George W. Bush’s administration followed with a 223.9% increase, and Barack Obama’s administration has seen it increase in value by 89.9%.
Carter’s administration was stifled by high inflation and a recession that the country couldn’t shake. Coupled with volatility in the oil market, gold rose to $850. George W. Bush’s administration was dogged by hanging chads and a highly disputed court decision in Florida. Those hanging chads might as well have been gold-plated as they weighed heavily on the first year of his presidency. Following the 9/11 attacks and the ensuing War on Terror, gold’s value as a stable investment in an unstable world drove the price to record levels.
Things settled down when President Obama took office in 2009. His extensive spending and stimulus bills energized the American economy. But, this shot in the arm came at a steep price. Budget deficits ballooned to over $1 trillion during each of his first four years in office. Today, the U.S. government owes just over $19.5 trillion; that’s nearly double what it was when Obama took office. The debt is now significantly larger than the GDP, which alarms investors who know from other nations’ experiences that this is an economic trend with an unpleasant outcome.
Based on Georgette Boele’s analysis, gold will see moderate gains should Clinton win. Her victory would raise the price to about $1,650. If Trump wins, gold could go up to $1,850 as the dirt from the campaign settles and Trump’s administration takes office.
In a statement released by ABN Amro, the company said, “If Trump were to become President… gold prices will likely perform well, because we expect that his policies will be inward looking and will weaken the fundamentals of the U.S. economy. In addition, his rhetoric and possible policy actions could create domestic and international uncertainty at best, and upheaval at worst. Our U.S. economist expects that economic growth would be weaker – this will likely result in a more substantial rise in gold prices towards $1,850 per ounce over the coming years.”
Moreover, should the Federal Reserve raise rates at a rate faster than investors expect, the short-term effect could drive gold to $1,350 by the end of the year, and to $1,450 by the end of 2017 regardless of who wins this November. Banking giant Citigroup is advising investors to sell stocks and bonds and buy gold now. This move comes as Trump’s star rises in the polls. The reason for their advice is that gold could begin rising even before November as markets realize that Trump’s campaign has a viable chance at the oval office. As Election Day nears, Citigroup projects gold rising to $1,400 as investors seek to shelter their assets.
Former chairman of Goldcorp, Rob McEwen recently told Bloomberg that either Clinton or Trump would have a positive impact on gold prices. He estimates that, either way, gold could rise to between $1,700 and $1,900 by the end of the year. McEwen’s math takes into account the impact of congressional races would have on the markets – specifically, that a Democratic Congress paying for Clinton’s promises and overspending the budget could potentially drive down the value of the dollar. Programs such as her promised “college plan for families,” the continuation of “Obamacare,” and increases to other entitlement programs have high price tags. Early estimates of just a few of these programs show spending of more than $500 billion over 10 years, with no plans for creating the revenue needed to pay for these programs. This means deficit spending, increased national debt, and lower purchasing power for the American consumer.
Among likely voters, neither Trump nor Hillary has favorable opinion ratings. The contentious debate cycle won’t end once the ballots are tallied. Indeed, most Americans are leery of both candidates and many are embarrassed by the options on the table. Either way, investor confidence will be shaken and will remain soft long after the reins change hands in January.
Coupled with international insecurity, economic and political volatility in Europe, recent moves by OPEC, and the very real threat of international terrorism, gold is a bullish investment. Its luster will grow brighter as investors worry about the threats their portfolios face.
Wise investors are already positioning their investments for either outcome. The question isn’t whether gold will increase in value; the question is how much it will rise. The golden goose is ready to lay her eggs, and those who buy gold early will reap the rewards as the markets adjust to the changes taking place within the American economy. Be sure you are ready!