The Look and Feel of Canadian Venture Market Bottoms (From 1981 to 2014)
The Look and Feel of Canadian Venture Market Bottoms From 1981 to 2014
Special thanks to Dajin Resources for sponsoring. Also, information on market bottoms compiled by Ron Loewen.
In December 2014, the deteriorating market for metals and a suddenly floundering oil price pulled the resource-heavy TSX Venture Index to an all-time low.
Big board indices such as the S&P 500 are still reaching new highs each week, yet this is the second longest bear market since 1932 for gold stocks according to Barron’s Gold Mining Index (BGMI).
While it is difficult to discern if today’s market is truly the absolute bottom, the similarities in media headlines, the tone of discussion, and overall sentiment are reminiscent of bear markets past. That is why, in this infographic, we look at some of the major headlines at market bottoms over the past 35 years including those from the most recent downturn.
When it comes to companies such as those that make up the TSX Venture, it can be incredibly hard to judge fundamentals as there are no earnings or steady revenue growth for most companies. As a result, these markets are driven by greed and fear even more so than other sectors.
It’s important to be a contrarian and to go against the herd mentality. This doesn’t mean going against the grain no matter what, but it means thinking and acting with conviction based on fundamental market truths – regardless of what other people say.
We know that markets, especially those tied to natural resources, tend to be highly cyclical. With the large capital investments and timelines required to advance projects, massive supply challenges must be corrected in subsequent cycles. This can lead to either a rush to buy or sell, and therefore bull and bear markets.
We also know that investor sentiment is largely a psychological phenomenon that can be tied highly with emotions rather than fundamentals. The media can be a big part in echoing or reinforcing this sentiment.
Take a look at the headlines in bear markets bottoms over the last 35 years – do you think we’ve reached a similar place yet in this cycle?
Charted: 30 Years of Central Bank Gold Demand
Globally, central banks bought a record 1,136 tonnes of gold in 2022. How has central bank gold demand changed over the last three decades?
30 Years of Central Bank Gold Demand
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Did you know that nearly one-fifth of all the gold ever mined is held by central banks?
Besides investors and jewelry consumers, central banks are a major source of gold demand. In fact, in 2022, central banks snapped up gold at the fastest pace since 1967.
However, the record gold purchases of 2022 are in stark contrast to the 1990s and early 2000s, when central banks were net sellers of gold.
The above infographic uses data from the World Gold Council to show 30 years of central bank gold demand, highlighting how official attitudes toward gold have changed in the last 30 years.
Why Do Central Banks Buy Gold?
Gold plays an important role in the financial reserves of numerous nations. Here are three of the reasons why central banks hold gold:
- Balancing foreign exchange reserves
Central banks have long held gold as part of their reserves to manage risk from currency holdings and to promote stability during economic turmoil.
- Hedging against fiat currencies
Gold offers a hedge against the eroding purchasing power of currencies (mainly the U.S. dollar) due to inflation.
- Diversifying portfolios
Gold has an inverse correlation with the U.S. dollar. When the dollar falls in value, gold prices tend to rise, protecting central banks from volatility.
The Switch from Selling to Buying
In the 1990s and early 2000s, central banks were net sellers of gold.
There were several reasons behind the selling, including good macroeconomic conditions and a downward trend in gold prices. Due to strong economic growth, gold’s safe-haven properties were less valuable, and low returns made it unattractive as an investment.
Central bank attitudes toward gold started changing following the 1997 Asian financial crisis and then later, the 2007–08 financial crisis. Since 2010, central banks have been net buyers of gold on an annual basis.
Here’s a look at the 10 largest official buyers of gold from the end of 1999 to end of 2021:
|Rank||Country||Amount of |
Gold Bought (tonnes)
|#7||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||180||3%|
The top 10 official buyers of gold between end-1999 and end-2021 represent 84% of all the gold bought by central banks during this period.
Russia and China—arguably the United States’ top geopolitical rivals—have been the largest gold buyers over the last two decades. Russia, in particular, accelerated its gold purchases after being hit by Western sanctions following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Interestingly, the majority of nations on the above list are emerging economies. These countries have likely been stockpiling gold to hedge against financial and geopolitical risks affecting currencies, primarily the U.S. dollar.
Meanwhile, European nations including Switzerland, France, Netherlands, and the UK were the largest sellers of gold between 1999 and 2021, under the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA) framework.
Which Central Banks Bought Gold in 2022?
In 2022, central banks bought a record 1,136 tonnes of gold, worth around $70 billion.
|Country||2022 Gold Purchases (tonnes)||% of Total|
Türkiye, experiencing 86% year-over-year inflation as of October 2022, was the largest buyer, adding 148 tonnes to its reserves. China continued its gold-buying spree with 62 tonnes added in the months of November and December, amid rising geopolitical tensions with the United States.
Overall, emerging markets continued the trend that started in the 2000s, accounting for the bulk of gold purchases. Meanwhile, a significant two-thirds, or 741 tonnes of official gold purchases were unreported in 2022.
According to analysts, unreported gold purchases are likely to have come from countries like China and Russia, who are looking to de-dollarize global trade to circumvent Western sanctions.
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