ANALYSTS VIEW-Outlook for precious metals in 2013
LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Gold could see record average highs this year and next, but its 12-year long bull run may be reaching a plateau as gains get smaller on expectations for monetary policy to stabilise in the United States and other key economies. Palladium is expected to set a record average high this year and platinum to post its best price performance in two years as South Africa's supply problems worsen and the economic cycle starts to favour industrial metals. Below are comments from some forecasters of precious metals prices, on the main factors driving price action next year.
AVG 2013 AVG 2014 Mean 1788.95 1839.45 Median 1775.00 1780.00 Highest 2250.00 3000.00 Lowest 1587.50 1420.00 Number of forecasts 37 33
MICHAEL WIDMER, ANALYST, BANK OF AMERICA-MERRILL LYNCH "Real yields, a key gold price driver, have flat-lined across various tenors, limiting investor appetite for gold. While large output gaps in advanced nations have generally prevented a rise of inflation and inflation expectations, a likely pick-up in growth through the end of 2013 may alter this pattern, and we maintain our six-month gold price target of $2,000 an ounce."
NIC BROWN, ANALYST, NATIXIS "The debate over the debt ceiling and automatic spending cuts, which must be finalized by end-February, should give us a clear indication which path U.S. politicians choose to take; repay your debt or inflate it away. If the U.S. joins Europe in fiscal retrenchment, the outlook for gold is poor. If U.S. fiscal austerity proves either politically unpalatable or economically impossible, we could be looking at a weaker dollar, cuts to U.S. credit ratings and potentially significantly higher gold prices."
ALEXANDRA KNIGHT, ECONOMIST, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK "Abstracting from some near-term volatility, we expect the price of gold to ease further as the recovery in the U.S. economy gains momentum and its currency strengthens, shifting demand away from alternative investments, such as gold, and towards currency-based investments and equities. While a strengthening U.S. economy will place upwards pressure on inflation, which gold has traditionally been used to hedge against, increased demand from this source is unlikely to have a significant impact on price."
SUBHRASOM DE, ANALYST, KCTL RESEARCH "The Fed is selling short-term bonds and with the proceeds longer-term bonds are bought. Thus, the Fed is pushing prices up for long-term bonds by lowering the yield. So, in a lower interest rate scenario and with high inflation expectations, the real return would be negative. This should weigh down on dollar which would be supportive for gold."
AVG 2013 AVG 2014 Mean 34.01 37.50 Median 32.85 33.50 Highest 65.00 150.00 Lowest 26.75 25.25 Number of forecasts 34 30
JONI TEVES, ANALYST, UBS "Ultimately it is still the vote of confidence coming from investors that will have the more powerful impact on the silver market. More work needs to be done to encourage market participants to become more active in silver again - less violent price action and/or a stronger price uptrend are likely to attract flows. We have held the view that silver is poised to outperform in a QE environment which is friendly towards risk assets."
ANDREA ARATOLI, ANALYST, ITALPREZIOSI "Concerning silver, the macroeconomic picture is important although (it) has become much more important to monitor the investment demand. It could be the only driver that can fill the gap of the surplus of production."
AVG 2013 AVG 2014 Mean 1722.59 1831.64 Median 1700.00 1800.00 Highest 1995.00 2400.00 Lowest 1518.75 1400.00 Number of forecasts 27 25
ANNE-LAURE TREMBLAY, ANALYST, BNP PARIBAS "Platinum's demand remains affected by the poor state of the European auto sector. However, the ongoing issues surrounding platinum mine supply in South Africa should counterbalance weakness in demand. Overall, we expect the metal's fundamentals to improve in 2013, which will be supportive of a higher price."
ROBIN BHAR, ANALYST, SOCIETE GENERALE "The disruption in the South African mining sector will have long-term ramifications. Improved economic expectations and possible further disruption to mine production could well mean that, after ETF investment, the metal will be in balance or a small deficit for the longer-term."
DANIEL BREBNER, ANALYST, DEUTSCHE BANK "Certainly for platinum the South African situation looks like it's likely to continue creating uncertainty with respect to supply. We have got some proposed cutbacks... but the government is taking a different view on that, and will likely try to encourage companies to maintain relatively higher levels of output. That tussle will determine to a degree how platinum performs."
AVG 2013 AVG 2014 Mean 753.59 842.18 Median 745.00 820.00 Highest 850.00 1010.00 Lowest 646.25 610.00 Number of forecasts 26 24
JAMES STEEL, ANALYST, HSBC "Palladium prices will be sensitive to any evidence of diminished Russian exports. Although there is no public information on the subject, Russian stockpiles are perceived to be dwindling. PGM ETFs registered gains in 2012 and further investor interest in 2013 may tighten underlying supply/demand balances, thereby buoying prices."
DAVID JOLLIE, ANALYST, MITSUI PRECIOUS METALS "The fact that the U.S. government managed to avoid the worst damage from the self-imposed fiscal cliff deadlines leads us to be somewhat optimistic over North American demand for palladium. The Chinese economy should start to rebound and suck up more palladium for its automotive industry too."
(Reporting by Jan Harvey; Editing by Veronica Brown and Alison Birrane)