Bullion Regains Its Glitter

By: Prieur du Plessis | Fri, Aug 7, 2009
Print Email

August 6, 2009

Is gold bullion coming back to life? Should one read anything into the rise of 6.2% (+$56) since the yellow metal's low of early July?

When it comes to gold bullion and gold stocks, I need to confess I started my investment career in 1984 as none other than a mining analyst. Ever since those days of calculating net present values on my trusted HP 12C I have been intrigued by the shenanigans of the yellow metal and related stocks. And I have also learnt over the years that one should never underestimate the ability of the gold price to surprise when least expected.

Admittedly, part of the improvement in the gold price can be ascribed to the fading US greenback, which declined by 3.9% over the same period. I always have more faith in gold's rallies when they are not only a reflection of US dollar weakness, but gold is also appreciating in most currencies. This serves as an indication of increased investment demand and is a phenomenon one should keep an eye on as gold might just have started moving independently of the dollar over the past few days.

Considering the fundamental outlook for gold, a very comprehensive report was recently published by Austria's Erste Group. The analysts list the positive and negative influences below, leading them to conclude that gold is only half-way through a secular bull market and offers an outstanding risk/return profile.

Negative factors:
• Clearly falling jewellery demand.
• Recessions are basically not a good environment for the gold price (the gold price gets stimulated at a later stage by the measures taken during the recession).
• Gold tends to be held as asset and cash of last resort, which means it is liquidated in extreme financial situations. Given that more than 70% of jewellery is bought on the Indian subcontinent, the supply of recycled gold might continue to rise.
• De-hedging is coming to an end.
• The futures positions (CoT) would suggest a short-term correction.

Positive aspects:
• The worldwide reflationary policy will continue for a while.
• Global USD reserves are excessive, and the need to diversify is enormous.
De facto zero-interest policy in USA, Japan and Europe.
• Central banks have changed their attitude towards gold.
• Supply still in long-term downward trend.
• Investment demand will remain high; Wall Street has discovered gold.
• Commodity cycle has a long way to go.
• Geopolitical environment remains fragile.
• China will increase its gold reserves.

Gold's technical picture is certainly looking up. This is explained by Adam Hewison of INO.com who prepared a short analysis of gold's most likely direction. (The analysis was done on Tuesday, but is still as relevant today as it was then.)

Click here or on the image below to access the video presentation.

Seasonally, September also seems to be a good month for gold, with an average gain of 2.6% for the month since 1970.

Source: Plexus Asset Management

I am bullish on gold in the medium term, especially as I believe the vast money printing by central banks could set off strong inflation pressures down the road. I will not be surprised to see bullion passing the infamous $1,000 resistance level over the next few weeks - a question of fifth time lucky - and I will be inclined to add bullion to my portfolio on pullbacks.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, click here to subscribe to updates to Investment Postcards from Cape Town by e-mail.



Prieur du Plessis

Author: Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

Dr Prieur du Plessis

With 25 years' experience in investment research and portfolio management, Dr Prieur du Plessis is one of the most experienced and well-known investment professionals in South Africa. More than 1 000 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns. He also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment, in 2002.

He holds the following degrees: BSc (Quantity Surveying) (Cape Town), HonsB (B & A) (cum laude) (Stellenbosch), MBA (cum laude) (Stellenbosch); and DBA (Doctor of Financial Management) (Stellenbosch).

Prieur is chairman of the Plexus group of companies, which he founded in 1995. Previously he was general manager: portfolio management at Sanlam, responsible for the management of investment portfolios with total assets in excess of $5 billion.

Plexus is a pioneer in the mutual fund industry and has achieved a number of firsts under Prieur's leadership. These include the authoritative Plexus Survey, a quarterly analysis of the consistency of the performance of unit trust management companies, the Plexus Offshore Survey, the Plexus Unit Trust Indices, and the PlexCrown Fund Ratings.

Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin, American author of the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index™ methodology in the Pan-African area.

In 2001 Prieur received the Santam/AHI Business Leader of the Year award for corporate leadership, business acumen and entrepreneurial flair. He was also profiled in the book South Africa's Leading Managers (2006). Plexus received the AHI/Old Mutual Enterprise of the Year award in 1997 and was also included in the book South Africa's Most Promising Companies (2005).

Prieur is 52 years old and lives with his wife, TV producer and presenter Isabel Verwey, and two children in Welgemoed, Cape Town. His recreational activities include long-distance running, motor cycling and reading. He belongs to the Cape Town Club, Johannesburg Country Club, Gordon's Bay Yacht Club and Swiss Social & Sports Club.

Copyright © 2008-2012 Dr Prieur du Plessis

All Images, XHTML Renderings, and Source Code Copyright © Safehaven.com