Gold prices are expected to consolidate below recent highs during 2020 and 2021 as increased demand from investors for the “safe-haven” asset is offset by dollar strength and weak retail consumption, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.
Spot gold has surged more than 10% this year, reaching an around 7 1/2 year high of $1,746.50 on April 14, as the coronavirus pandemic roiled global markets and central banks unleashed a wave of monetary stimulus.
Gold is often sought as a safe store of value in times of economic turmoil and benefits from central bank easing which pushes down bond yields and raises fears of inflation that erodes the value of other assets, making the metal more attractive.
The poll of 37 analysts and traders conducted this month returned a median forecast for gold prices to average $1,639 an ounce in 2020 and $1,655 in 2021.
The forecasts are sharply higher than in a similar poll in January — which saw prices averaging $1,546 this year and $1,600 in 2021 — but still suggest gold’s recent rally will falter.
Bullion will likely be pressured by a strong U.S. dollar, which makes gold more costly for buyers with other currencies, and plummeting demand in places like India and China where many consumers are locked down and losing income, analysts said.
Prices could also be vulnerable if financial markets plunge again and investors need to cash in more liquid assets to stay afloat.
“We expect prices to remain caught in a tug-of-war between safe-haven flows and liquidity needs,” said Standard Chartered analyst Suki Cooper.
But low bond yields and expectations of further economic stimulus measures should keep demand for gold healthy over the longer term, she said.
Some analysts expect a repeat of the rally that followed the 2008 financial crisis when gold prices rose by $1,000 an ounce to a record high of $1,920.30 in 2011.
But this record could be reached again “only if the situation moves out of hand and the expected short and sharp recession turns into a longer-lasting depression,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.
Analysts and traders downgraded their outlook for silver, which is considered both a safe-haven asset linked to gold and an industrial metal dependent on the manufacturing of products such as solar panels to generate demand.
The median forecast was for silver to average $16.56 an ounce in 2020 and $17.87 an ounce in 2021 — down from $18.28 and $19.13 predicted in January.
“There’s still scope for silver to hitch a ride on gold’s coat tails, but expect a lagged response,” Standard Chartered’s Cooper said.
The gold/silver ratio, which measures the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, hit a record high of around 125 in March.
“The steep rise in the ratio once more underpins that unlike gold, silver is not a safe haven,” Julius Baer’s Menke said.
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