"Ultimately, what is going to matter is if inflation is going to tick up more than rates are going to pick up–meaning is the Fed going to be behind the curve or not? If the Fed is behind the curve, then gold should do just fine; if however the Fed is able to get in front of this or if inflation is not going to materialize much but the yield curve remains steep and real rates rise, then yes, the gold selling is over," he added.

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/15/gold-set-to-get-a-boost-as-president-elect-donald-trumps-spending-plans-fuel-inflation.html

Can someone explain the meaning of the phrases marked in bold text?

  • The reference is to the slope of the curve on the graph; steep would be nearly the opposite of level. If the Fed is slow to take action to hold inflation in check, then gold will continue to rise. But if the Fed takes prophylactic measures to prevent inflation (they will be "ahead of the curve") then gold will not perform as well.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


Part of what you quoted is in the formal language of economics; part of it is more informal. There are two senses of the word "curve" being used here, which may be what is confusing you.

"The yield curve remains steep" refers to the 'yield curve', which is a graph of interest rates on government bonds - the X axis is the time-to-maturity, and the Y axis is the interest rate. Economists refer to a "steep yield curve", a "flat yield curve", or an "inverted yield curve." Refer to an economics site to understand exactly what a "steep yield curve" is.

"The Fed is behind the curve" is informal language. To be "behind the curve" means to be later than others in doing something. "My smartphone is 5 years old; I'm behind the curve on updating."

Behind the curve

behind the times; behind schedule


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