Gold and the “Grexit” Threat——Some Diagnostics On The ‘Everything Is Fine’ Meme


The Everything is Fine Meme

Initially, we were also a bit surprised that the gold price didn’t rise when the threat of a Greek exit from the euro area became more palpable following the breakdown in negotiations and the outcome of the Greek referendum. After all, it was to be expected that “risk assets” would suffer and so-called safe haven assets would be sought after, at least temporarily.

However, upon giving the matter some thought, we have concluded that gold’s lack of a response (in fact, it went slightly down rather than up, so there was actually a response) could actually be explained quite easily. For one thing, speculators increased their net long position in gold futures by more than 20,000 contracts net in the week before the negotiations broke down, apparently in anticipation. While they did so, the gold price barely budged, so in a sense it was “wasted firepower”.


Image via


Prior to the breakdown in negotiations between the troika and Greece, speculators increased their net long position in gold (above the net hedger position is shown, which is the inverse of the speculative position) – click to enlarge.


When no large increase in prices occurred on the Monday after the referendum had been announced, these new positions were quickly liquidated again. The downturn in prices in turn emboldened speculators to add to their short positions, pressuring prices even further.

There are other reasons for the reaction as well. One is that in spite of a bit of a wobble in stocks, the essential “everything is just fine” story hasn’t really been derailed. The dangers of a “Grexit” are probably underestimated and up until recently, no-one believed it to be a likely outcome anyway (it still isn’t, although it is more likely than it once used to be).

If the underlying fundamental

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