Gold prices to stay healthy amid continuing virus worries
(Kitco News) - Voters in the weekly Kitco gold survey are bullish on the metal for the week ahead, citing gold's ability to hold up even when the dollar and equities strengthen, technical factors and ongoing worries about how the coronavirus could impact the global economy.
Seventeen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. Eleven, or 65%, called for gold to rise. There was one vote, or 6%, saying gold would fall, and five, or 29%, calling for a sideways market.
Meanwhile, 726 votes were cast in an online Main Street poll. A total of 472 voters, or 65%, looked for gold to rise in the next week. Another 148, or 20%, said lower, while 106, or 15%, were neutral.
In last week's survey for the trading week now winding down, 67% of Wall Street voters and 60% of Main Street voters were bullish. As of 11:07 a.m. EST, Comex April gold was up by 0.7% for the week so far to $1,584.50 an ounce.
Richard Baker, editor of the Eureka Miner's Report, looks for the coronavirus outbreak to get worse, suggesting that gold "will regroup to $1,590 next week with its eyes on breaking the $1,600 level." He added that he sees silver rising to around $17.85 an ounce.
"Is it a pandemic? Nobody knows for sure," Baker said. "Coronavirus infections are being recounted to the upside in China, and the death toll continues to rise. This is an economic and viral shock to the world that is hard to quantify. That uncertainty alone underpins a range for safe-haven gold -- a solid floor around $1,500 per ounce and the mercurial $1,600 level above -- at least for the near term. If China's growth falls to just several percent and supply chains are disrupted for months, the upper level for gold could be much higher, perhaps $1,800."
Charlie Nedoss, senior market strategist with LaSalle Futures Group, said he is short-term bullish on gold as long as the April futures remain above the 10-day moving average of $1,572.08 and 20-day of $1,573.75. He also pointed out that the metal has made higher highs and higher lows the last two days.
"It's doing this all with a stronger dollar [for most of February]," he continued. Normally a muscular greenback hurts gold.
"If we stay above $1,574 on a closing basis today, I am looking for higher next week," Nedoss said.
Phillip Streible, chief market strategist with Blue Line Futures, also said higher. Should gold top $1,590, it could climb to $1,600 quickly, he said.
"With equities making new highs and the dollar pushing up as well, gold futures are continuing to hold and are gathering some strength," Streible said. "It's a nice set-up for coming into next week."
Bob Haberkorn, senior commodities broker with RJO Futures, said gold may test $1,600 an ounce.
"Equities are … strong, but [investors] are a little nervous about the coronavirus….I think that alone will keep gold strong," Haberkorn said.
"At the end of the day, gold is moving higher because of [accommodative] central banks. That's the main reason. The coronavirus is an added thing to push it higher."
Mark Leibovit, publisher of VR Metals/Resource Letter, said he is bullish but added that the "cycle high warrants caution."
Meanwhile, Sean Lusk, co-director of commercial hedging with Walsh Trading, was the survey participant expecting a pullback in gold prices, citing seasonal factors and potential for profit-taking by the bulls.
"The second part of February into March – from a seasonal perspective – is usually pretty weak for gold, and we see some pullbacks," Lusk said. "The reason is that you're past the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. You are past Valentine's Day. You're past some traditional physical-buying time periods."
Still, he said, any pullback could be minor, as past price dips have been bought. Further, if the coronavirus situation worsens and spreads to other countries, prompting a big sell-off in stocks, investors may turn back to gold as a safe haven.
Kevin Grady, president of Phoenix Futures and Options LLC, is one of the survey participants who is neutral on gold prices for next week.
"I think that the news coming out of China regarding the coronavirus is putting some pressure on the stock market and giving a bid to metals prices," he said. "That being said, I do not see gold running up on the news.
"Also, stocks have been getting hit on Fridays the past few weeks and I expect today to be more of the same, especially due to the [three-day U.S. Presidents Day] holiday weekend. The fear is that there will be worse news on the virus over the weekend with the markets closed. Gold has been the beneficiary of the weekend hedging."