The big price drop Wednesday in the price of gold is not the beginning of a trend, say analysts, just a pause in a bull market that has a lot farther to run, for at least four reasons.
The price of gold fell $104, or 5.6 percent, to settle at $1,757.30 an ounce as investors took profits from recent gains and took heart from an encouraging durable good report. Others took an upbeat view of what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will say Friday in a key speech. The net effect was the yellow metal's biggest drop in three years.
However, professional analysts caution that the correction is only a pause and the metal's trend line is up, not down.
Indeed, Gayle Berry, analyst with Barclays Capital Research, forecasts the average price of gold this year at a lofty $1,800 per ounce with next year's average and next year to average $2,000, and Goldman Sachs expects gold's price to rise through the middle of next year.
Here are their reasons.
1. A structural shift in macroeconomic instability due to the heightened sovereign debt risks and credit downgrades, says Gayle Berry of Barclays Capital Research. Retail investors are losing faith in fiat currencies, whether it is the U.S. dollar or the euro. As a result they have piled into gold and gold-related assets. One such asset is the SPDR Gold Trust which has now become the largest of all exchange-traded funds.
Fear and insecurity have driven the markets to take comfort in gold, driving it to a record high above $1900/oz, the analyst said in a note. Although profit-taking, price-elastic scrap supply and seasonally soft physical demand could temper the rally in the near term, we expect prices to set new highs.
2. The sharp acceleration of broad investment demand after a mostly absent first half 2011, says Berry.
3. The return of central bank buying, from new corners and in sizeable tranches. Berry specifically cited South Korea adding 25 metric tons of gold to its reserves over June and July.
4. Current low U.S. interest rates will support high gold prices, according to Goldman Sachs. Earlier this month the investment bank issued a report saying it expects gold prices to rise through the middle of next year. While calling this year's gold price rally impressive, this rally in gold prices is still lagging the collapse in U.S. real rates with the 10-year TIPS yield now closer to 0.30 percent, suggesting that gold positioning remains 'under-bought.'
BMO Capital Markets this week sounded a similar note. The influence of weak fiat currencies (especially the U.S. dollar), global economic troubles, escalating geopolitical risk, inflationary pressures and negative real interest rates have created a 'perfect storm' for the gold metal price.
The upshot of these four factors means the trend line for gold is up, not down.
Although profit-taking, price-elastic scrap supply and seasonally soft physical demand could temper the rally in the near term, we expect prices to set new highs, says Berry.
Bending that trend line down will require several developments, says UBS analyst Edel Tully.
Unless a series of positive macroeconomic numbers emerges, which seems unlikely at this stage, we strongly believe the dips will be bought, Tully says. 'Further upside (of the gold price) is more of a question of how much, rather than if.
Likewise Berry: We believe the macro environment is evolving increasingly favourably for gold, and a return of market confidence in the state of the global economy, coupled with high and rising real interest rates and controlled inflation, will be required to quell its gains.