The Buzz Around Gold is Growing Louder
I outlined last week the increasingly bullish consensus among analysts about gold stocks. The same pattern exists with gold itself; growing numbers of analysts have either joined the movement or have upped their bullish outlook.
The following comments and developments have all been reported just this month. It presents quite a convincing case when one strings them together like this. Keep in mind that this is what these analysts and managers are telling their clients.
SICA Wealth Management's Jeffrey Sica: "Right now, I think gold looks better than ever." He sees a "painfully high probability" of troubling events occurring in the months ahead. "There has been a general loss of confidence in the ability of central banks and governments to manage the economy. That will continue to give gold and other precious metals a boost."
Empire Economics chief economist Clifford Bennett expects gold to come close to $2,000 an ounce this year and $2,200 an ounce within 18 months. "There is risk in the second half of the year of a bit of a 'panic spike,' if you like, as everyone thinks there isn't enough to go around and starts to hoard. That's when you'll really see gold take off towards $2,000 an ounce."
Franco-Nevada Chairman Pierre Lassonde said the coming mania in gold will make the 1970s run look like child's play. "In 1980, the only players, or the dominant players, were the Americans. Today the dominant players are China and India; 58% of all the gold sold this year will be sold in these two countries. When we reach that mania phase... watch out, because it will truly make your head spin."
Antaike analyst Shi Heqing had this to say about Chinese investors: "Record high prices won't scare away investors... they are likely to chase the rally and continue to buy gold because paper money feels increasingly worthless and they are worried about inflation." Shi expects China's gold demand to rise about 20%, due in no small part to the country's 6.4% inflation rate.
Reuters: "The case for gold in the longer term is still very strong," said a Singapore-based trader. "Gold may appeal to new classes of investors who previously avoided the market in favor of more mainstream investments like bank deposits, bonds, and equities. Potentially there's a whole new market for small-sized gold bars if these investors lose faith in paper."
Newedge USA predicted gold will hit $1,800 and silver $70 by year-end due to investors seeking a haven asset and physical demand from Asia. "Gold is an excellent hedge in troubled times" said Mike Frawley. "Demand will be very strong long-term from Asia, and the economic trend in the West is improving."
FX Concepts founder John Taylor: "Gold will climb to $1,900 by October."
SMC Global: "Evidence of sluggish U.S. growth has shaken investor confidence. Concerns about rising inflation here have also boosted appetite for gold ETFs. Demand is high from small players."
Minerals and Metals Trading Corp's Ved Kumar Prakash reported "skyrocketing" demand for gold in India. He predicted that given the company's brisk sales, gold imports would jump by more than 40% this fiscal year.
The Swiss Parliament is expected later this year to discuss the creation of a gold franc. "I want Swiss people to have the freedom to choose a completely different currency," said Thomas Jacob, the man behind the gold franc concept. "Today's monetary system is all backed by debt - all backed by nothing - and I want people to realize this."
An "Iranian gold rush" is under way, according to an article by Reuters. "Usually as the price of an item increases, demand will decrease - but in the case of gold, it seems that higher prices are creating more demand," said an unnamed Tehran gold retailer. "The reasons that people are drawn to these safe assets - gold coins and hard currency - are firstly a limited choice of investment opportunities, and secondly a fear from the weakness of the national currency," said an economist who asked not to be named.
The Utah Legal Tender Act was signed into law by Governor Herbert last month. "Good monetary policy is an important part of a healthy and prosperous economy," said Senator Mike Lee. He and other Republicans also introduced legislation to eliminate federal capital gains taxes on gold and silver coins. "Since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the dollar has lost approximately 98% of its value. This bill is an important step towards a stable and sound currency whose value is protected from the Fed's printing press."
CIBC World Markets' Peter Buchanan remains bullish even if the debt ceiling talks resolve. "Even in the likely event Congress agrees to a debt ceiling rise, recent uncertainties are likely to reinforce central banks' ongoing efforts to diversify from the dollar into gold and other assets."
Citigroup Global Markets reported that silver may more than double to $100 an ounce if the current bull market follows similar patterns seen between 1971 and 1980. "If the final rally in the last bull market repeated, then we can expect $100 over the long term... While the high so far this year was at the same level as the peak in January 1980, we are not convinced that the long-term trend is over yet."
Gold Forecaster analyst Julian Phillips: "This is not typical of a 'bull' market that will eventually fall back from whence it came. We believe gold is not in a 'bull' market, because it is changing its shape and nature permanently. Our reasoning is not academic posturing, but a reflection of the realities that have taken place over time and those that confront us now. Because it is perceived to be an alternative wealth-preserving asset, a counter to a failing monetary system, it is not a simple commodity moving up and down with the flows and ebbs of economic cycles; it is a valid measure of monetary values."
American Precious Metals Advisors Managing Director Jeffrey Nichols: "A recent survey of 80 central bank reserve managers predicted that the most significant change in their official reserve holdings in the next 10 years will be their intentional build up in gold reserves. They also predicted that gold will be their best performing asset class over the next year, and sovereign debt defaults will be their principal risk."
Gloom Boom and Doom editor Marc Faber: "I just calculated that if we take an average gold price of say around $350 in the 1980s and compare that to the average monetary base and the average U.S. government debt in the 1980s...and then if I compare this to the price of gold to today's government debts and monetary base, gold hasn't gone up at all. It's actually gone against these monetary aggregates, and against debt it's actually gone down. So I could make the case that gold is today probably very inexpensive."
GoldMoney founder James Turk: "In reality there are very few participants currently in the gold market... when I look at the price action, it suggests to me that a lot of this big money on the sidelines wants to be in. Therefore we are seeing some aggressive bidding on any pullbacks."
Reuters Money reports that eBay's "gold and silver outpost" has seen gold bullion sales jump more than 60% from 2007 through 2010. More significantly, "almost half of the silver and gold buyers in the first quarter of 2011 never purchased these items on eBay before."
Sprott Asset Management chief investment strategist John Embry: "I think it will be really exciting when silver clears $50, because then it will be in absolutely new ground. There is, without question, major physical shortages of physical silver, and demand is robust. Once silver gets rolling, it's going to levels people cannot imagine."
It's hard to go one day without seeing comments like these. The chorus is growing, and as these bullish views spread further and further into the mainstream, the number of investors attracted to precious metals will swell and continue to drive prices higher.
Is this growing consensus the sign of a top? As I said about gold stocks, taking the contrarian view in response to this information would be the wrong move. Fiscal and monetary issues are getting worse, not better, and I think we're simply seeing more investors recognize the inevitable. We'll worry about exiting this sector when real interest rates are positive and the dollar is once again a revered currency. Until then, it's hard to imagine a scenario that isn't bullish for gold. Any pullback should thus be viewed as a sale price.
Is the impetus for a mania building? I don't know if we're on the doorstep of that phase or not, but the fundamental reasons to hold gold are as strong as they've ever been. Indeed, it's getting more critical to have meaningful exposure to precious metals. Keep in mind that when the debt ceiling talks reach a resolution - whatever it may be - the fundamental problems of excessive debt and further deficits will still be unresolved.
Will gold correct if agreements are reached on the debt talks? Probably, but I think the more appropriate question to ask is this: If these analysts are correct, do I own enough ounces?