December 3, 2022

Gold Bear Forecasts $500 Price Plunge Even as Gold Prices Climb

Physical-GoldWhen gold was hitting new highs during 2011 the mainstream media was full of articles with “experts” predicting further price gains but the exact opposite happened.

As speculators, short term traders, and price manipulators  took the price of gold down by over $600 an ounce the experts switched their tune and the chorus of gold bears grew steadily.  By the end of 2013 when declining prices had shaken out all the weak hands in the gold market and all the experts were bearish, prices had nowhere to go but up.

With the start of the new year gold ignored the bears and has been on a tear in 2014.  Two months into the new year with gold bullion and gold stocks far outpacing the gains in stocks and bonds, the “experts” still insist that it’s time to bail out of gold before prices collapse.

Gold vs stocks and bonds

Courtesy: yahoo finance

The Top Two Gold Forecasters selected by Bloomberg remain steadfast in their views that gold is undergoing a dead cat bounce that will soon run out of steam.

“I just see this as a corrective move,” said Robin Bhar, the head of metals research at Societe Generale SA in London and the most-accurate forecaster tracked by Bloomberg in the past two years. “We would still want to be bearish gold,” said Bhar, who expects a fourth-quarter average of $1,050.

“Haven demand plays well when gold is cheap, but it’s no longer cheap,” said Justin Smirk, a senior economist in Sydney at Westpac Banking Corp. and the second most-accurate forecaster tracked by Bloomberg in the past two years. “I’m a little surprised by the volatility in the market, but it really doesn’t change my overall view,” said Smirk, who expects a slide through the year to a fourth-quarter average of $1,020.

Barron’s took note this week of The Gold Rally’s Fatal Flaws forecasting that a tighter Fed policy, low inflation along with an easing of investment demand from China and India will send gold prices lower.

Another concern is that gold prices are already up so much that investors in China and India are suffering sticker shock. The two nations together account for roughly half of the world’s gold demand, buying gold gifts to celebrate weddings, birthdays, and religious festivals. These regular purchases help create a floor for the market and were instrumental in stemming the violent sell-offs that gold suffered last year.

BUT WHILE SOME Indian and Chinese buyers felt they were getting gold on sale in December, when prices dipped below $1,200 an ounce, this is no longer the case. “For gold, physical demand keeps slipping as the price moves up,” says Walter de Wet, head of commodity strategy at Standard Bank.

Even more bearish was commentary by respected analyst Mark Hulbert who notes that the sentiment among short term gold market timers has soared to the bullish side in the past month, typically a contrary bearish omen.

Even more wildly bearish is Claude Erb, a professor at Duke University interviewed by Hulbert who is forecasting a major crash in the price of gold.

 

Erb, along with Duke University finance professor Campbell Harvey, was the co-author of a January 2013 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research — which I featured in a February 2013 column for Barron’s on the price of gold. The study suggested that gold remained significantly overvalued, even though its bear market at that point was already 16 months old. By the end of the year gold had shed nearly $500 an ounce.

Unfortunately for the gold bulls, Erb’s and Harvey’s study suggests gold is still overvalued. One valuation indicator they point to is equivalent to a stock’s price/earnings ratio: It is the ratio of gold’s price to the Consumer Price Index. According to their calculations, and given the historical average level for this gold/CPI ratio and where the CPI index currently stands, gold’s “fair value” today is around $820 an ounce — about $500 lower than where it now trades.

The reasons articulated above for being bearish on gold and silver have already been well advertised and discounted by the markets which is probably why gold and silver have been soaring this year.  It wouldn’t be surprising if the “experts” are wrong and gold and silver turn out to be the best place to keep your money this year.

The Bull Market In Gold Is Dead

Gold coinsApril was a brutal month for precious metal investors.  Gold ended the month down almost 8% and silver prices tumbled almost 13%.   The sell off continued in May with gold down another $60 per ounce to $1,412 and silver down $1.55 to $22.87 per ounce at mid month.

With investors already nervous, two mainstream news organizations today did the equivalent of yelling fire in a theater crowded with gold and silver investors.

Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal published extremely bearish articles on gold which essentially proclaimed the death of the gold bull market.

“Gold is going to get crushed”

Gold will trade at $1,100 an ounce in a year and below $1,000 in five years, according to Ric Deverell, head of commodities research at the bank. Lower prices are unlikely to lure more central-bank buying, said Deverell, who worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia for 10 years before joining Credit Suisse in 2010.

“Gold is going to get crushed,” Deverell told reporters in London today. “The need to buy gold for wealth preservation fell down and the probability of inflation on a one- to three-year horizon is significantly diminished.”

Investors are losing faith in the world’s traditional store of value even as central banks continue to print money on an unprecedented scale. Bullion slumped into the bear market last month after a 12-year bull market that saw prices rise as much as sevenfold. Gold is a “wounded bull,” Credit Suisse said in a Jan. 3 report.

“When gold is going up, it looks like a great idea to buy more gold,” Deverell said. “And when it’s going down, do you really think risk-averse central bankers are going to try and catch the knife? No.”

A surge in demand for bars, coins and jewelry following gold’s drop to a two-year low in April is temporary, Deverell said. The U.S. Mint said April 23 it ran out of its smallest gold coins and Australia’s Perth Mint said volumes jumped to a five-year high. India’s bullion imports may surge 47 percent to 225 tons in the second quarter to meet consumer buying, according to the All India Gems & Jewelery Trade Federation.

“This is bargain-buying,” Deverell said. “It’s like when you have cash for clunkers in autos, you bring forward activity, but it’s not a massive addition to buying.’

Courtesy: kitco.com

Courtesy: kitco.com

“The bears are mauling gold”

The metal fell for a sixth consecutive trading session on Thursday, as investors continue to flee toward assets that promise higher returns.

The characteristics beloved of “gold bugs,” the sizable army of large and small investors who swear by the metal, are precisely what bears are feasting on. Unlike most other assets, gold doesn’t offer a steady return, or yield, and it is often seen as protection against inflation or currency devaluations.

At present, however, global economic growth is sluggish, interest rates in many developed countries are at or near record lows, and investors of all stripes are scrambling to find higher-yielding assets.

“There’s basically no inflation, equities are taking off, and we’ve got a strong dollar,” said Fain Shaffer, president of Infinity Trading Corp. in Medford, Ore. “All of those are just eroding away the investment value of precious metals.” Mr. Shaffer this week recommended his clients bet on lower gold prices.

On Thursday, bears seized on a World Gold Council report showing that total demand for gold fell 13% in the first quarter, to a three-year low of 963 tons in the period.

Other investors are taking the opposite view. John Workman, chief investment strategist with Convergent Wealth Advisors, said the firm late last year recommended that clients trim their gold holdings by about 25%. He cited gold prices that have stagnated despite more stimulus from the Federal Reserve in the form of asset purchases, the same money printing that galvanized gold bugs after the financial crisis. Falling prices were a signal that many investors just weren’t concerned anymore that the stimulus measures would stoke inflation and weaken the dollar.

To sum things up –

  • it no longer matters that central banks everywhere are printing money on an unimaginable scale,
  • the world economy is doing fine and will continue to improve,
  • gold, used as a currency and safe haven for 5,000 years, is inferior to fiat paper currency,
  • returns are better in stocks and bonds,
  • monetary stimulus via central bank asset purchases will propel the world into sustained economic growth,
  • there is no inflation and
  • investors want assets with yields.

Price fluctuations may not make much sense in the short term, but long term precious metal investors know where things are headed – see Why I Will Always Own Gold.