Gold and silver prices had been dropping in anticipation of a more aggressive policy coming from the Federal Reserve. This change in tone has pushed gold prices higher and has also increased optimism around the gold price forecast.

The Fed raised rates by a quarter-percentage-point Wednesday and indicated two more quarter-point increases this year and three in 2018..Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank was willing to tolerate inflation temporarily overshooting its 2 percent goal and intended to keep its policy accommodative for “some time.”

The Fed’s goal is to “normalize” interest rates. The financial media and Wall Street analysts embrace and discuss this idea of “normalized” interest rates but never define exactly what that means. For the better part of the Fed’s existence, the “rule of thumb” was that long term rates (e.g. the 10-yr Treasury rate) should be about 3% above the rate of inflation. And the Fed Funds rates should be equal to or slightly above the rate of inflation.

Using the Government’s highly rigged CPI index, it implies the Fed Funds rate would be “normalized” at approximately 2.7% and the 10-yr bond around 6% based on Wednesday’s CPI report. Currently the Fed Funds rate is 3/4 – 1% and the 10-yr is 2.5%. Of course, since the early 1970’s, the CPI calculation has been continuously reconstructed in order to hide the true rate of price inflation. For instance, the current CPI index does not properly account for the rising cost of housing, education, healthcare and automobiles.

John Williams’ of keeps track of price inflation using the methodology used by the Government to calculate the CPI in 1990 and 1980. Using just the 1990 methodology, the rate of price inflation is 6.3%. This would imply that a “normalized” Fed Funds rate would be around 6.5% and the 10-yr bond yield should be around 9.5%. So much for this idea of “normalizing” interest rates. Using the Government’s 1980 CPI methodology, Williams calculates that the stated CPI would be 10.3%.