Gold prices could forge ahead to $4,000 per ounce in the next three years, but factors such as the development of a coronavirus vaccine and the November U.S. elections could change the fortunes of the precious metal, analysts say.
This year, gold prices have shot to record highs not seen since September 2011. Investors have been fleeing to "safe haven" assets as the pandemic shows no signs of abating. Last week, gold prices surged above $2,000 per ounce for the first time.
"It's quite easy to see gold going to $4,000," Frank Holmes, CEO at investment firm U.S. Global Investors, told CNBC on Monday.
He pointed to the trillions of dollars needed in stimulus to tide the U.S. economy during the coronavirus pandemic, and added that G-20 finance ministers and central banks are "working together like a cartel and they're all printing trillions of dollars."
"We've not seen this level where central banks are printing money at a zero interest rate. At zero interest rates, gold becomes a very, very attractive asset class," Holmes said.
A looser monetary policy generally means investors are more likely to seek out gold as an asset. When real yields go down, gold prices will go up, and vice versa. In such a scenario, the opportunity cost of holding gold, a non-yielding asset, is lower as investors are not foregoing interest that would be otherwise earned in yielding assets.
Spot gold prices were last at $2,028.32.
While Yung-yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management — U.S., agreed that there are many factors supporting gold, he pointed to two big events that could change the direction of prices.
"We're just cautious extrapolating these current factors ... especially when we know there are two big events on the horizon that could change that trajectory. One is of course the vaccine development, and the other is the elections," he told CNBC on Monday. "We think ... especially the vaccine has potential to shift some of those positive factors that are working right now in the favor of gold," he said.
Depending on how the U.S. elections go, analysts have said that gold prices could react accordingly.
According to New York-based research provider Third Bridge Group, gold prices could fall to below the $1,600 mark after the elections, before rallying again next year.
However, in a note last week, financial data provider Refinitiv pointed to U.S. political developments that could disrupt financial markets and support the gold rally.
"The elections are now less than 100 days away and Trump had recently suggested delaying it, raising concerns he will seek to circumvent voting in a contest where he currently trails his opponent by double digits," wrote Refinitiv's Cameron Alexander, manager of precious metals research. He was referring to Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who last led U.S. President Donald Trump in a July poll.
In the 2016 presidential elections, after Trump's surprise win over Democrat Hillary Clinton investors fled to gold, a safe haven asset. That pushed gold prices up nearly 5%.