It seems that miners have a long way to go before they bottom (perhaps a few months – in analogy to how gold declined in 2016)…
Following the close of the U.S. presidential election and latest post-election euphoria, miners posted slight gains on Thursday and Friday, gains which are likely to be short-lived and followed by a sustained decline, if the history charts are any indication.
When compared to small breakouts over the declining resistance line in August, September and October as well as the small gains and sudden drop by the Gold Miners Bullish Percentage Index back in 2016, the most recent gains by miners are negligible and only predict an eventual and further trend downwards.
The excessive bullishness was present at the 2016 top as well and it didn’t cause the situation to be any less bearish in reality. All markets periodically get ahead of themselves regardless of how bullish the long-term outlook really is. Then, they correct. If the upswing was significant, the correction is also quite often significant.
Please note that back in 2016, there was an additional quick upswing before the slide and this additional upswing has caused the Gold Miners Bullish Percent Index to move up once again for a few days. It then declined once again. We saw something similar also this time. In this case, this move up took the index once again to the 100 level, while in 2016 this wasn’t the case. But still, the similarity remains present.
Back in 2016, when we saw this phenomenon, it was already after the top, and right before the big decline. Given the situation in the USD Index, it seems that we’re seeing the same thing also this time.
Please note that back in 2016, after the top, the buying opportunity didn’t present itself until the Gold Miners Bullish Percent Index was below 10. Currently, it’s above 70, so it seems that miners have a long way to go before they bottom (perhaps a few months – in analogy to how gold declined in 2016).
On Thursday and Friday, miners moved and closed slightly above their 50% retracement of the preceding decline, the declining resistance line based on the August and September highs, and the October highs. The breakout was tiny, so it would require a confirmation. I expect to see its invalidation instead, especially given today’s pre-market decline in gold and the very bullish medium-term outlook in the USDX. In fact, at the moment of writing these words, the GDX ETF is down by over 4% in today’s trading on the London Stock Exchange.
Even if miners didn’t form a top on Friday, they are likely very close to it, as they once again rallied in the manner that is similar to other sessions that we marked with blue ellipses on the chart. The daily upswing on relatively strong volume that was preceded by a price gap is bullish in theory, but in practice this meant that a downturn was just around the corner 4 times out of 4, when we saw such a combination in the last few months. Consequently, the implications are not really bullish here.
In particular, what we saw in mid-September appears similar to what we see right now. Back then, the GDX ETF was also after a small breakout above its short-term, blue support line and the 50-day moving average. A relatively sharp short-term decline followed at that time, and the same seems likely also this time.
Also, let’s not forget that the GDX ETF has recently invalidated the breakout above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement based on the 2011 – 2016 decline.
When GDX approached its 38.2% Fibonacci retracement, it declined sharply – it was right after the 2016 top. Are we seeing the 2020 top right now? This is quite possible – PMs are likely to decline after the sharp upswing, and since there are only several months left before the year ends, it might be the case that they move north of the recent highs only in 2021.
Either way, miners’ inability to move above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level and their invalidation of the tiny breakout is a bearish sign.
The same goes for miners’ inability to stay above the rising support line – the line that’s parallel to the line based on the 2016 and 2020 lows.
Last week, miners have once again moved back to the upper border of the rising long-term trade channel, but they failed to rally above it. This means that the bearish indications based on the above chart remain up-to-date.
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Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
Editor-in-chief, Gold & Silver Fund Manager