Futures & Commodities

Why 'tapering the taper' could help gold: Fund manager

Why it's time to buy into gold

Gold bugs have remained defiantly optimistic despite a sudden fall in its price this week, but one fund manager has told CNBC that only a fresh macroeconomic sea-change could push investors back into buying the precious metal.

"Typically the money is made when you buy something that is out of favor, and gold is certainly out of favor...what we have to look for is a different perception of macro events." John Hathaway, a portfolio manager at New York-based Tocqueville Gold Fund told CNBC.

"It's very interesting and very opportune for investors to not write it off but to consider investing...we live in a world of substantially higher systematic risk than we had even five years ago during the financial crisis."

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Hathaway added that said that one such event could be a turnaround in policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is currently reining in the massive bond-buying program it started after the financial crisis. The original $80 billion-a-month program has already been "tapered" back to $45 billion.

"Another reasonable possibility (is)...that the Fed is going to discover that they have to taper the taper. The U.S. economy is quite anemic, there's very little evidence that there's any sort of building momentum. And it seems to me there's a good chance that they may have to reverse their course on this so-called experimented tapering," he told CNBC Thursday.


Hathaway's comments underline the belief that gold investors are looking around for a reason to buy gold. Chinese and Indian demand for physical gold, usually one of the main drivers for the price of the precious metal, has not been strong enough to prop up the market. The price of gold fell further on Thursday to a $1,252.21 per ounce, a drop of over 3 percent since Tuesday morning. It's now at a multi-month low not seen since February 7.

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Somewhat surprisingly, Hathaway also believes that gold could benefit from a complete Fed taper. An alternative scenario that could also help gold would be rising interest rates once the Fed finishes its "tapering" process. This could lead to equity prices coming "back to normality," he added, and help push gold prices higher.

Dennis Gartman, publisher of the Gartman Letter, is another commodity analyst that agrees that good is looking for another driver for gold, but he disagrees that the price could be about to move higher. He told CNBC's "Futures Now" on Tuesday that gold is "breaking down."

Gartman said that gold looks increasingly weak as geopolitical concerns over Russia and Ukraine subside and that the only thing that would motivate him to buy gold would be an "egregious upward turn in inflation" or "a war of some sort," and neither of those seem to realities at the moment.

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Naeem Aslam, a chief market strategist at brokerage Avatrade is equally bearish on gold. In a research note published Wednesday he was particularly concerned about the breaking technical price level at $1,268.

"Precious metal is losing its shine day by day and I am concerned with today's move especially," he said.

"We think the price has the ability to go to the $1,180 level, once again. If the fundamentals remain as strong as they are now, we think the upward gold move may not be on the cards anytime soon."