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US election 2020: What could happen to the gold price?


Liam Sheasby

Liam Sheasby, News Editor
9 Oct 2020, 1:46 p.m.


Former VP Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump in the first of four televised election debates.
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The US Presidential Election takes place in under a month on November 3rd, and many investors are wondering what impact the vote will have on the gold price, as well as other precious metals.

As things stand, former Vice President Joe Biden has a lead in the polls over the incumbent President Donald Trump. The Economist gives Biden an 88% chance of winning the election, while The Guardian, Independent, Financial Times, CNN and even Fox News all agree that Joe Biden is currently ahead in the polls at around 50 points to 42 in their polling.

It's a remarkable turnaround from earlier this year, when President Trump held a lead from March to May as people came to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, but as time has gone on many believe the Trump Administration has let them down – whether in dealing with the coronavirus or in the handling of the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd.

Polling is never wholly accurate however, and as the UK discovered, many choose not to disclose when they are voting for more conservative candidates in general elections. Regardless of this, experts in financial sectors are already generating forecasts for what will happen after the November election night.

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The short-term gold price:

Since gold's price peak in August, the market has stayed volatile but between £1,400 - £1,500 per ounce. According to German refiners Heraeus, gold typically rallies in the run-up to an American election, and then trades lower afterwards. This doesn't appear to be the case at present however.

In the short term, S&P Global are reporting that a stronger US dollar is holding gold and other precious metals back from continuing their rapid price gains this year. The Dollar Index gained 1.9% off the back of new Federal Reserve policy in September, but this dollar boost is seen as a blip on the radar and not a lasting trend.

UBS also attribute some of gold's difficulties in the past month to risk appetite following Trump's vague comments about not accepting the election result in November. Such market disruption tends to benefit a currency over assets, and Forbes reports that UBS have been urging clients to buy into safe-havens like gold and silver.

Indeed, financial and industry experts alike point to the fact that there are underlying conditions which will continue to benefit gold; low interest rates and money printing (see quantitative easing) primarily, but also issues such as the US/China trade war, clashes stateside between the police and protestors, continued trouble tackling Covid-19, and recession.

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The long-term gold price:

Forecasting isn't an exact science, but in either a Trump or Biden win the expectations are gains for gold in the next three to five years. Speaking to S&P Global, Bart Melek - head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said that: “The secular bull market is intact, as long-term inflation expectations will likely continue to rise post-election”.

Again, experts tend to agree that the global economic turmoil will continue to benefit gold. Metals Focus highlight the fact that the longer-than-expected pandemic means further fiscal measures will be needed from governments.

This effectively means no chance of swift recovery, and so growth boosting measures such as low interest rates will reduce yields from many assets. This benefits gold because, with no yield, it has an opportunity cost when interest rates are in their normal range.

There are some who believe a Biden Administration would be far more beneficial to gold than Trump would though. Heraeus and Moody's both agree that Biden's proposed spending plans would require massive public investment – estimated at $7.3 trillion across the next 10 years – which would burden the US government with even more debt. Concern over this debt will keep the US dollar value low, thus elevating the gold price.

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Read our follow-up article next Monday (October 12) discussing how the US election might affect silver prices, and how the Green New Deal might be more than a left-wing fantasy.

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