No doubt this had to be the blog for the week. Precious metal prices have been rocketing down for the entire week.
Let’s first focus on the reasons for the price fall:
- FED’s QE3 is being unwound at a steady pace. Tracking the improving US economic conditions, FED might even increase the pace of tapering. QE was responsible to set record highs for gold and the same is the reason for its downfall in 2013.
- Ukraine turmoil had given the much necessary support to safe haven buying assets like Gold where the prices were on an upward spiral. As the turmoil continues to unwind itself and most of the news being discounted by the market participants, the support is slowly fading away.
- Physical demand is a concern. Bloomberg had reported that Iraq had increased their Gold reserves by a massive 36 tons in March and IMF data showed that Turkey was back increasing their Gold reserves by 9.3 tons in February. Hong Kong Trade Statistics showed a strong month of Chinese Gold imports for February, which were a net of 109.2 tons, which was 30% more than January and 80% more than the previous year. When I had seen these stats, I did feel that the physical demand is holding strong to support the Gold price fall. But frankly, Turkey or Iraq aren’t the main supporters for Gold. Undoubtedly it has been the show of Asian countries and majorly China. Now to track Chinese physical demand, I take support of SGE premiums. When the prices fall, SGE premium is the first one to go up, while that has not been the case lately. SGE premiums have been locked in a negative territory or hardly minutely up despite Gold price fall from $1390 to $1290 in a span of 2 weeks or so. Due to this I feel that once March data is released, it is likely to show a decline in imports relative to February numbers as SGE premiums were in positive range for most of the time in Feb. With SGE premiums mostly in negative to hardly anything, it would have been less attractive to import metal. Even the But as the economic uncertainties increasingly looming over Chinese banking sector through shadow banking issues, I feel their physical purchases would dampen a bit.
- On the domestic front, Gold and Silver prices are dropping faster than its dollar denominated counterparts. Rupee has appreciated considerably when compared to dollar over the past few weeks. This has led to downfall in gold prices. Indian government and RBI had to take tough decisions over the past year and now the results are paying off. With the CAD in control, Indian economy is looking to improve from here on. Due to which investors are regaining their faith in India and investments are gradually increasing.
- Silver prices are more or less dragged along with Gold prices. With regards to platinum, the AMCU does not seem to be willing to accept less than double salaries, as it announced it would give Platinum producers one year extra time to adjust the wages and would only then return to work
My take on Gold prices in dollar terms will be in the range of $1180-$1400 i.e. INR 26500 to INR 32500. I feel this is the range that the investor should keep in mind while buying Gold.
My take on Silver prices in dollar terms will be in the range of $18.50-$23.50 i.e. INR 41000 to INR 47000. I feel this is the range that the investor should keep in mind while buying Silver.
Like others I do feel that if overall the economy improves than the downward journey for precious metals will continue. But like others, I feel the below given reasons will always play a crucial role in providing returns to the investors who trust on Gold and other precious metals.
- With the upcoming elections in India and CAD in control, I do expect that the new government will surely take some steps to boost the R&D for mining Gold in India as well as provide some relaxations in Gold import policies. If that happens, Asian demand will get a boost from India. But government policies will play a key role as they know the best when it is about deciding the best for Indian economy.
- As the prices head lower, I am sure that the physical demand will improve drastically world over and not only China because everyone knows that Gold is the only asset that can be taken into account during any economic turmoil.
- Gold will always play an important role in geopolitical conflict situations and economic uncertainties.
- As the prices continue to spiral down, mining industry will face hurdles to operate in low margin or no margin environments. If that is taken into consideration, I feel that their operational costs will rise more than the income they generate from mining creating the necessary closure of mines as it will be difficult to stay in business in such conditions.
- Silver and Platinum continue their downfall as they are more or less dragged along with gold prices. But as the economy improves their use in industries across the world will continue to rise and in turn increase their demand and prices.
- The bubbles created by money printing and market manipulation – not just in the U.S., but the entire world has never been universally unbacked, nor government intervention so widespread. This has not been seen over the years and the stimulus programmes have led to gigantic balance sheets of central of banks of the world under the word: “Economic Development”
Gold has always stood by one and all when it comes to economic uncertainties. But with Central banks and governments trying their best to revive their economies, Gold is loosing its investment appeal to some extent, as investors look for short term benefits.
I feel buying physical Gold, Silver and Platinum should be on cost averaging basis. It has been a successful strategy since the bull year began, though it would be a bit strange for the investors who started investing in the last couple of years. I am sure Gold or for that matter any precious metal investments would always give best returns if considered as long term investment options and something that you can bank on in financial instabilities.