The results from the United Kingdom’s vote on whether to remain a member of the European Union or not suggest the Brexit vote has won the day. This has wide-reaching implications across a number of asset classes, in particular gold.
A Brexit is likely to trigger a mass flight to safety, especially among the powerful global asset managers, which means the price of gold as a hedge against uncertainty is likely to soar.
This afternoon gold has lifted around 6 per cent to US$1,325 an ounce, although I expect it could lift another 20 per cent over 2016 to around US$1,600 an ounce given the weight of capital that is now likely to pour into the ultimate safe haven asset.
This call is not so outlandish when you consider that the Brexit vote is likely to put back the timing of US interest rate rises, with US Fed Reserve chair Janet Yellen effectively conceding this point in several public statements recently.
As US cash rate hikes are put back gold will become increasingly attractive in relative terms as it does not pay interest, but does represent a store of value.
More important is the uncertainty created due to the unknown potential consequences of a Brexit.
The uncertainty includes:
- Potential for the United Kingdom to collapse with Scotland and Northern Ireland already reportedly preparing referendums to leave.
- Potential for the European Union to collapse with one of its most powerful members gone. Now it’s possible others like Italy, Spain and France, among others, could leave.
- Potential for the single currency and market in the EU to collapse
- Potential for North European banks and governments to face massive debt write downs if EU collapses
- The potential for global interest rates to remain lower for longer, this will support gold as it pays no interest
Today, Australian gold miners are rocketing higher and I expect more gains ahead:
- Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) up 8.2% to 8.2%
- Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) up 9.2% to $4.99
- EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) up 12.8% to $2.47
- St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) up 8.4% to $3.09
- Silver Lake Resources Limited. (ASX: SLR) up 9.9% to 50 cents
Depsite what I consider to be a bullish outlook for gold prices and ASX mining businesses, I would not recommend speculating on gold shares.
Rather I would look to take advantage of today’s market falls to buy good quality ASX businesses with some exposure to US dollars.
I moved nearly 20% of my share portfolio to cash on June 16 and will be more than happy to reinvest it back into the equity markets over what I expect will be a prolonged period of short-term weakness.
On the ASX the kind of businesses I expect could outperform include defensive US dollar earners such as Amcor Limited (ASX: AMC), Brambles Limited (ASX: BXB), ResMed Inc. CHESS (ASX: RMD) or even Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD).
Although I expect nearly all the shares on the ASX will be trading at deeper and deeper discounts over the weeks ahead, which should present plenty of buying opportunities. One business I have my eyes on is Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF), down 5.7% today, but I expect it will be a beneficiary of the coming falls in equity markets.
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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares in ResMed Inc.
You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345
The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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