Gold will probably extend gains this half as Britain’s vote to quit the European Union adds to the case for the Federal Reserve pausing on interest rates, according to Ivan Szpakowski, who left Citigroup Inc. earlier this year to set up a hedge fund that started trading in May.
“It’s going to end the year even higher,” Szpakowski, chief investment officer at Academia Capital LLC, said in a phone interview. While the fund will have an emphasis on commodities including energy, metals and bulks, it’ll also trade currencies, rates and equities, he said, declining to give a figure for assets.
Gold surged in the first half as the U.S. central bank failed to add to last December’s hike, counterparts in Europe and Japan pushed negative interest rates and the U.K.’s Brexit decision spawned a wave a risk aversion. Traders have pushed back bets on Fed’s rate outlook amid concern that the crisis in Britain will burden an already sluggish global economy while investors have poured funds into gold-backed exchange-traded products.
“One of the biggest impacts of Brexit is on the outlook for U.S. interest rates,” said Szpakowski, formerly Asia head of commodity research at Citigroup, based in Hong Kong. “The chances of an interest-rate hike in the coming months have decreased tremendously,” he said from North Carolina.
Bullion for immediate delivery traded 1 percent higher at $1,334.45 an ounce at 4:13 a.m. in New York after surging to $1,358.54 last week as the outcome of the U.K. vote became clear, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal has advanced 26 percent in 2016 after three years of losses.
While at Citigroup, Szpakowski said on Jan. 22 that oil would prove to be the “trade of the year” as the market would turn. That day, Brent rallied 10 percent to about $32 a barrel and it’s gone on to top $50. Last year, he repeatedly forecast weaker iron ore prices as the commodity lost 39 percent.
Szpakowski’s seeking to raise capital, initially in the U.S. then Asia and Europe, at a tough time for funds. Daniel Loeb, founder of hedge fund Third Point LLC, said earlier this year that industry performance was “catastrophic” and that funds were in the early stages of a washout. Fees have also come under fire, including from billionaire Warren Buffett.
Academia will seek to capitalize on instances where prices have become dislodged from fundamentals, according to Szpakowski. There’ll be an emphasis on commodities as well as on emerging markets, especially China, and what that means for various asset classes, he said.
“Rather than making a lot of day trades or a lot of short-term, small trades, it’s more focused on targeting the real, larger opportunities,” he said. “It’s not algorithmic, it’s discretionary. It’s more focused on large market dislocations instead rather than tactical trading.”
A wave of banks have also zeroed in on potential opportunities in bullion and raised price forecasts, citing Brexit as well as the likely trajectory for U.S. rates. Among those upping targets are Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and Societe Generale SA.
The Brexit vote has triggered fears over political, financial and economic turbulence, not just in the U.K. but across the continent, with potential spillovers for the global economy, according to SocGen’s Robin Bhar. The Fed won’t hike at all in 2016, Bhar said in a note on Thursday.
Central banks may be getting ready to ease. Fed Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said on Thursday Britain’s vote to exit the European Union could slow growth. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the will probably have to loosen policy within months to deal with the fallout of the vote.
“People are realizing that Brexit is going to be a longer, drawn-out process,” Szpakowski said. “That’s still positive for gold. I’d say that’s the commodity that should end the year stronger.”
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