Alf Field came out of retirement yesterday for a one off speech to provide his views on the Gold market and update his Elliott Wave predictions (last updated in 2008). I was at the Gold Symposium to see the speech live. Although I don't particularly follow specific charting methods such as EW (which seems more useful as a tool to map the past than to accurately predict the future), some of Alf Field's comments on the reasoning for EW working in the Gold market did make sense. Although not perfect, some of his early predictions have proven quite accurate and the speech itself was great. Here is part of it, explaining why/how he came to use EW for Gold price predictions:
How do you value something that has no utility value, no earnings or net asset value, does not spoil or corrode and is not used up?
Other commodities such as copper, soya beans and corn etc., are priced using a combination of demand, supply and stocks. If demand exceeds supply, stocks diminish, shortages develop, prices rise and new production comes on stream. Eventually supply exceeds demand, stocks build up, prices decline and marginal producers go out of business. The cycle then repeats itself. Other commodities are produced for consumption while gold is accumulated.
Consequently large stocks of gold exist in official hands as central bank reserves. There are also large stocks of gold in private ownership, in vaults around the world, in homes, buried in gardens, in coins and gold jewelry. New mine production of gold is tiny compared to available stocks. In 1971 official holdings of gold were about 37,000t. Cumulative world gold production throughout history up to 1971 was estimated to be about 90,000t, so investors/hoarders must have owned at least as much as the official holdings. In 1971 world gold production was a mere 1,450t, or less than 2% of the estimated amount of gold held in the world at that time.
The fundamental conclusion was that the owners of the large stocks of gold would determine the future of the gold price. If they became net sellers, the gold price would decline. If they became net buyers, the gold price would rise. There were reasons to believe that they would be net buyers. The world had been launched into an untried experiment where all countries were subject to Government fiat currencies and, in addition, there was a latent group of buyers in the wings. Americans had been prevented by law from holding gold since 1933. With the collapse of the gold exchange standard on 15 August 1971, there was no reason for this prohibition to continue. On 31 December 1974 (another Moses generation period from 1933) the largest and wealthiest nation on Earth allowed its citizens to buy and own gold.
The obvious conclusion was that it was necessary to resort to technical analysis to find a way to predict movements in the gold price. I experimented with a variety of technical systems and then got lucky. I discovered that the Elliott Wave Theory (EW) gave superb results in predicting the gold price. I couldnâ€™t get the same great results using EW in other commodities or markets. EW is a complicated system with many difficult rules, but I will try and explain it in simple terms.
The technique is to concentrate on the corrections. In terms of EW, the sequence in a bull market is as follows. The market rises, has a 4% correction, rises, has a 4% correction and rises again. At this point the next correction jumps from 4% to a larger degree of magnitude, say 8%. The market then repeats the sequence. A rise, a 4% correction, a rise, 4% correction, a rise and another 8% correction. When the market is eventually due a third 8% correction, the magnitude of that correction jumps from 8% to 16%. This sequence is repeated until two 16% corrections have occurred when the size of the next big correction jumps to 32%.
The beauty of EW is that the corrections in gold are remarkably regular and consistent. Early in 2002 I picked up the 4%, 4%, 8% rhythm in the gold market which convinced me that a new bull market had started in gold. Another feature of EW is that once one is confident that these percentages have been established and one has some idea of the approximate size of the up moves, simple arithmetic allows one to calculate a forecast of the future price trend.
I won't quote the entire article here, as it's already made it's way onto the web (for example here at Silver Bear Cafe), but here is the final snippet that most would probably be interested in (I would still encourage a read of the entire speech!):
This was prepared on 27 September 2011, the day after spot silver reached a low price of $26.59. The start of the extension was at $26.50 on 28 January 2011. A mere 3 months later, at the end of April, silver topped at $49.50, a very obvious explosive advance. Silver then traced out an A-B-C correction where the A and C waves were declines of similar size at $17 each, a typical EW relationship. At that low point of $26.59 on 26 Sept 2011 - the silver price had exactly retraced the full gain achieved in the explosive extension. The conclusion was that there was at least an 80% probability that the silver correction had bottomed at $26.59.
If gold retraces the exact gain achieved during the explosive advance from $1478 to $1913, which occurred in just seven weeks, it will represent a decline of 22.8%. That is nicely within the above anticipated range of 21% to 26% for the current decline in gold. There is a possibility that the spike drop to $1531 on 26 September marked the low point of the correction in gold. The midpoint of the correction from $1576 to $1478 is $1527, close to $1531. If $1531 was the low, it was a decline of 20%. This is slightly below expectations, but it still qualifies as one degree larger than 13%. At the date of writing (7 Nov 2011), gold has recovered to $1767, which is a 61.8% retracement of the loss from $1913 to $1531 (-$382), a typical size for this type of recovery. That leaves open the possibility (40% probability?) that gold will have another dip to test the target areas mentioned. The higher the price goes above $1767, the greater the probability that the low was in at $1531.
Once this correction has been completed, Intermediate Wave III of Major THREE will be underway. This should be the largest and strongest wave in the entire gold bull market. The target for this wave should be around $4,500 with only two 13% corrections on the way.
Could Gold get to $4500? I don't see why not. As I've pointed out in the past the price of Gold rose by a multiple of 5 in the last 24 months of the last bull market and most of those gains were seen in the final few months as Gold launched into a spectacular spike. I would suggest that much the same as last, at the end of the bull market we will see a spike higher that surprises many... I also suspect that time could be drawing near.