For gold, the first part of Q4 2022 continued to reflect the ambivalence felt by the market, and by investors – who were already spooked by the international fall-out from the UK ‘mini budget’ in late September, about where the price was heading in the face of high inflation, a possible global recession, the response of central banks, and continuing geopolitical tension.
Despite a 15-day positive run in late July/early August, and more briefly in the seven trading days from 28 September, the gold price had been largely falling since the 2022 high of $2039.05 achieved on 8 March (p.m.) through to November 3, $1620.65 (a.m.), a drop of 20.52% - a significant move given the price’s low-high trading range throughout the entirety of 2021 was 16%.
The beginning of November, however, marked a turning point. On 2 November, the US Federal Reserve announced a 75bps rate hike in the primary credit rate to 4.0%. More importantly, given the market had already anticipated this rise, Fed Chair Jerome Powell also dispelled any thoughts entertained by some in the bond markets, that a ‘pivot’ or rate reversal was on the horizon. A few weeks later, at the mid-December FOMC meeting, Powell formally stated the Fed had no intention of altering its 2% inflation target, at the same time creating certainty and underlining his view that inflation, and thus high interest rates, will be around for the long-term despite the risk of a US recession.
Coincidentally, 2 and 3 November also witnessed a shock for some of the loudest critics of gold – the digital currency community – with the news of the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange, which prompted a further hit to the bitcoin price which had anyway been declining since the beginning of Q2, and which finished 2022 down 59.6%.
In short, sentiment in the gold market turned positive, and with barely a look back the gold price rose 11.8% to end-December at $1812.35, a $3.30 gain on the year. As the FT revealed in an article of 3 January 2023, this positive momentum was supported by ‘unprecedented’ buying by central banks (almost 400mt in Q3 alone). As an analyst quoted by the paper said, “The message these central banks are sending by putting a larger share of their reserves in gold is that they don’t want to be reliant on the US dollar as their main reserve asset”.
Unprecedented (physical) buying also characterized the silver market in 2022 leading to a 27.6% reduction in the weight of metal held in loco-London vaults to end-December at 840,913 Troy Ounces a fractional increase on the end-November figure of 840,347 Troy Ounces which was the lowest figure since LBMA records began in July 2016.
Through the year, silver performed better than gold (in percentage terms) recording a price gain of 4.61% to end December at $23.945. Unusually, silver’s 2022 low-high trading range at 26.9% was similar to gold’s (26.0%), although was much wider (30.3% vs 9.8%) in Q4 as the price began to rise from 3 November propelled apparently by similar economic/inflationary concerns to those which were driving gold.
At a daily average of 27.2m oz, trading volume for gold in Q4 was 9.3% below the average for the full year, and 4.2% below the average for Q4 2021. Q4 2022 silver volume at 310.5m oz, however, was 4.5% higher than the full year average, and 13.9% higher than recorded in Q4 2021.
Key Statistics: 2022 Full year and Q4
|Gold - 2022||Q4 - 2022|
|Performance 4 Jan – 30 Dec||+0.18%||3 Oct – 30 Dec||+8.93%|
|Price High – 8 Mar||$2039.05||Price High – 13 Dec||$1823.55|
|Price Low – 28 Sep||$1618.20||Price Low – 3 Oct||$1660.80|
|Low/High range||26.0%||Low/High range||9.8%|
|Volume High – 9 Mar||49.7m oz||Volume High – 3 Nov||36.1m oz|
|Value High – 9 Mar||$98.9bn||Value High – 1 Dec||$64.5bn|
|Average daily volume||30.0m oz||Average daily volume||27.2m oz|
|Average daily value||$54.0bn||Average daily value||$46.97bn|
|Silver - 2022||Q4 - 2022|
|Performance 4 Jan – 30 Dec||+4.61%||3 Oct - 30 Dec||+23.33%|
|Price High – 19 Apr||$25.915||Price High – 30 Dec||$23.945|
|Price Low – 1 Sep||$17.770||Price Low – 21 Oct||$18.385|
|Low/High range||26.9%||Low/High range||30.3%|
|Average daily volume||297.1m oz||Average daily volume||310.5m oz|
|Average daily value||$6.9bn||Average daily value||$6.6bn|