It may be the biggest irony of the historic 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump, who will become the 45th President of the United States, is often associated with gold. His brand, his architecture, even his gaudy palatial residence, is completely saturated with gold. No one — and I do mean no one — does gold better than Donald Trump. Yet his administration may finally unwind the close correlation between gold and silver — and shockingly, to the detriment of the former.
How can this be? Throughout his campaign, he spoke of the corruption of insider politics in Washington. He railed against the elite aristocracy. He pitted the common worker against the Wall Street broker, who traded genuine sweat and tears into cold and calculated commodities. Trump even attacked U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen by name, accusing her of creating an artificial economy.
These are the talking points found at a precious metal investment conference. They also represent the message that the alternative investment community wishes that our top leaders would voice. Rarely, such speculative hopes come to fruition. In Donald Trump, everything appears possible. He even declared statements that are considered anathema in the political realm. Simply put, he broke all the rules and rewritten some along the way.
Inadvertently, however, Trump may have broken the relationship between gold and silver. Typically, as one rises, so too does the other. But in the present market cycle, that’s not quite the case. True, both metals have experienced volatility beginning in the summer months. But gold has veritably fallen off a cliff, especially in the wake of the Trump election. Silver, on the other hand, appears to be forming a baseline of support.
Why would silver — which is typically much more volatile than its pricier counterpart — cut its losses better than gold? The alarmingly simple answer lies with Trump’s proposed policies.
The President-elect made it a powerful point that he will make America great again. That, according to his way of thinking, involves restoring the nation’s manufacturing base. It also means bringing back jobs that were shipped out to Mexico or China. Those jobs again are focused on the manufacturing component of the economy. That physicality means that silver — which has both an intrinsic and industrial utility — will likely be in great demand at some point in the near future.
But this type of rhetoric isn’t particularly conducive for gold. Bullion as an investment doesn’t do too well if the dollar is strong. But if Trump’s criticisms of the Fed were to manifest itself into real policy, hawkishness is the name of the game. That would increase the magnitude of deflation, not lessen it.
Therefore, gold would suffer as safe-haven demand will shift from bullion to equities. Silver, though, could leave gold hanging as industrial demand would necessitate increased procurement.