Why I Bought Gold (and Think It Could Hit a Record High in 2018)

 | Feb 17, 2018 | 8:00 AM EST
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I added to my large position in the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD)  Wednesday in the belief that gold will be the best-performing asset class this year, with a chance of even hitting a new all-time high.

As I predicted back on Dec. 19 in my 15 Surprises for 2018:

"The year 2018 will be one in which investors come to understand that blockchain technology ... is real (each transaction is encrypted and can't be replicated or altered), but that bitcoin is a mirage and becomes, like many past schemes, a byword for Ponzi-like nostalgia.

Interest in gold, which has been sidelined for months amid the cryptocurrency frenzy, regains popularity, reverses direction from the lower left to the upper right and moves higher in price.

In an abrupt and swift flight to alternative safety, gold makes new all-time highs and becomes the single best-performing asset class in 2018."

-- Doug's Daily Diary, My 15 Surprises for 2018, Dec. 19, 2017

I also expanded on the case for gold on Jan. 24 and elsewhere in my diary, and discussed the topic recently on Fox News Channel.

My optimism on gold is an outgrowth of my belief that with both Democrats and Republicans endorsing more federal spending, the U.S. financial house is in disorder. Complicating the current state of our fiscal affairs is a too-low savings rate.

Dangerously, all of this exists at a time when foreign capital is funding rising trade deficits. The risk is that this is happening as the Trump administration seems to be sanctioning a lower U.S. dollar and has proposed trade policies that could hurt non-U.S. capital providers like China.

As I wrote in Call Me Mellow Yellow (Part Deux):

The tax bill demonstrates a total loss of fiscal discipline and continues an unsustainable path of government spending -- something that was apparent even before the bill was enacted.

The lack of fiscal discipline is and will likely continue to provide impetus to more gold price gains.

Oddly, this fiscal largesse is being accompanied by a period in which monetary policy is tightening -- because the domestic economy is perceived to be prospering and, in some cases, even accelerating in rate of growth terms.

Billed as a job creator that will serve to materially improve the status of the middle class, the tax bill -- like "jumbo shrimp" -- is an oxymoron which translates simply into a gift to the corporate sector.

Rather than narrow the wealth and income gap, the tax bill is likely to only marginally raise domestic economic growth and poses some obvious risks -- including an increase in the size of the U.S. deficit and debt load -- and will almost certainly lead to higher interest rates and inflation and serve to lift our government's debt service needs. (It will also likely fuel more share repurchases and improve the quality of balance sheets by bringing more income down to the bottom line as the statutory tax rate is slashed.)

A large infrastructure bill being proposed shortly by the administration will further exacerbate the aforementioned problems -- posing more intermediate- to longer-term risks that the gold market is sensing, but the equity markets are ignoring.

-- Doug's Daily Diary, Call Me Mellow Yellow (Part Deux), Jan. 24, 2018

(A longer version of this column originally appeared on Feb. 14 on Real Money Pro, our premium site for active traders and Wall Street professionals. Click here to get great columns like this from Kass and other market experts even earlier in the trading day.)

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