Finimize - 🍕 Food, glorious food

Gold ran past Goldman's forecast | Food inflation came in with a twist |


Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for April 9th in 3:14 minutes.

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Today's big stories

  1. Gold prices went on a rally that left even experts puzzled
  2. Here’s how you could invest in the power behind AI – Read Now
  3. February’s food inflation figures made for glorious reading

Flouncing Ounces

Flouncing Ounces

What’s going on here?

Gold prices reached over $2,300 per ounce, flying past Goldman’s forecast and working their way closer to JPMorgan’s $2,500 prediction.

What does this mean?

Gold became a real mover and shaker at the start of March, when the precious metal’s price jumped up 14% to smash its previous records. Thing is, a steady stream of cash has been pulled out of gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs), suggesting that plenty of investors have been pocketing their profit. Instead, folk are crowding into options trading, where you buy contracts that grant you the option to buy or sell gold at a future price. And as those contracts close, option contract sellers have to buy more gold to cover their bets, potentially leading to higher gold prices.

Why should I care?

Zooming out: Where there’s a will, there’s a why.

Investors tend to scout out blocks of the shiny stuff when geopolitical tensions heat up or inflation slips out of grasp. That’s been the case for some time, though, suggesting there may be another reason behind the rally. Central banks have been preparing to cut interest rates, which might have encouraged investors to double down: gold’s price tends to rise when interest rates fall. And with the US only adding to its swelling debt pile, some are speculating that investors are safeguarding their portfolios against a default with the tried-and-tested metal.

The bigger picture: Gold may have more in the tank.

Oil prices have been pushed up by nearly 18% to around $90 a barrel since February. And because energy prices can stoke up inflation, central banks’ hard-won progress might be hanging in the balance. That’s a threat that will likely pull more investors toward gold, which is generally seen as a decent inflation hedge. The shimmery blocks have been worth more before, after all: if you account for inflation, gold reached over $3,000 an ounce back in 1980.

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Analyst Take

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Slow Food

Slow Food

What’s going on here?

February’s food inflation figure was the lowest since October 2021.

What does this mean?

Food inflation averaged out at 5.3% across 38 well-off, industrialized nations in February – so it wasn’t the extra packs of biscuits that puffed up your grocery budget over the last year. That is, however, the smallest annual uptick since before war broke out in Ukraine, and it’s a long way off the 16.2% peak from November 2022. What’s more, the price of food has been increasing at a slower rate across the US, Europe, and the UK, mainly because a lot of the post-pandemic kinks have been worked out of global supply chains.

Why should I care?

For you personally: Less is more – on the receipts, anyway.

Most prices will generally tick up over time, but the slower they move, the easier it is for households to adjust. Mind you, it’s not just about the price on the packet, but the grams and the milliliters as well. While price tags have been getting bigger, products have been getting smaller – a pricing strategy termed “shrinkflation”. So not only are folk spending more in the shops, with the prices of hundreds of US grocery items increasing by 50% since 2019, but they’ve been getting less bang for their buck, too.

Zooming out: Not-so-disposable incomes.

Naturally, the more someone spends on food, the less they can spend on anything else. Well, unless their boss has bucked the trend and pinned their paychecks to inflation. So for folk to have the same spending power as before the pandemic, either the average take-home pay needs to increase or food prices have to decrease, instead of just increasing at a slower rate. The catch-22, though, is that higher wages would mean shoppers could pay more for the same stuff, encouraging retailers to push prices as high as possible – a surefire way to put a sting in inflation’s tail again.

You might also like: Has inflation (finally) peaked?

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