Weekly Update 21 Feb 2020
National currencies, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and major stock indexes fell while commodities were mixed. The big winners were gold stocks, which rose 6.6%, and palladium, which gained 5.3%. Cryptocurrencies took the biggest hits, as Ethereum dropped 10.1% and Bitcoin fell 9.6%. Although Ethereum registered the largest loss in absolute terms, I see it as a healthy correction following last week's massive 26.9% gain.
National currencies were all down hard, led by the Japanese Yen, which fell 5.4%. The British Pound (not in table) came in second, dropping 4.2%. The Canadian Dollar and Swiss Franc (not in table) declined the least, closing down 3.5%. The US Dollar, off 3.8%, was outperformed by its bonds; the short term SHY fell 3.5%, and the long term TLT dropped 1.4%.
Bitcoin declined only slightly through Tuesday the 18th, then fell hard on the 19th, and continued to slide into the end of the week, finishing down 9.6%. Ethereum followed a similar pattern, losing 10.1%. Some smaller cryptos slid much more, for example, DASH closed down 21.7%.
Although gold stocks scored the largest gains of the week, rising 6.6%, all major indexes closed much lower. The Japanese Nikkei fell 6.6%, while the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 closed down 5.1% and 5.0% respectively.
Commodities were all lower except for palladium and silver. Palladium gained 5.3%, second only to gold stocks. Silver was up 0.9%. Platinum and copper shared last place, falling 3.4% each.
Many national currencies are now at their all-time record lows, including the Euro, Canadian Dollar, British Pound, Australian Dollar, Russian Ruble, and the Chilean and Argentinian Pesos. Other major currencies are approaching their all-time lows: The Swiss Franc is 4.1% above, the Chinese Yuan 4.7% above, and the Japanese Yen is 10.8% above. Even the mighty US Dollar sits just 13.4% above its all-time low set back in September of 2011.
Looking back one year, only five assets are in the black: Bitcoin, up 98.5%, Palladium and Ethereum, up 47.1% and 45.2% respectively, gold stocks, up 15.8%, and long bonds, up 1.7%. The largest losses are all in commodities, as copper dropped 27.1%, cotton fell 24.5%, and crude oil declined 24.1%. But national currencies weren't far behind; the Euro in particular has lost 22.5%. Gold is the safe haven form of cash, while cryptos and gold stocks have been good holdings for growth.
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