Gold prices expected to regain footing
(Kitco News) - Participants in the weekly Kitco gold survey haven't given up on the precious metal despite Friday's sharp sell-off.
Main Street remains solidly bullish. And while Wall Street was somewhat mixed, the largest bloc of voters called for a rebound in prices.
Fifteen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. Seven, or 47%, called for gold to rise. Five voters, or 33%, called for further weakness. Three respondents, or 20%, were either neutral or predicted sideways prices.
Meanwhile, 1,619 votes were cast in an online Main Street poll, which was the most in 2 ½ years. A total of 1,079 voters, or 67%, looked for gold to rise in the next week. Another 303, or 19%, said lower, while 237, or 15%, were neutral.
In last week's survey for the trading week now winding down, 93% of Wall Street and 73% of Main Street voters were bullish. For much of the week, they were right. But then came a massive sell-off on Friday in which the market broke below $1,600 an ounce, with traders and analysts citing selling to raise cash to meet margin calls in other markets as equities fell, which in turn triggered margin calls in gold, as well as technically oriented selling as pre-placed protective sell stops were triggered. As of 11:33 a.m. EST, Comex April gold was down by 3.6% for the week so far to $1,589.40 an ounce.
Still, optimism remains.
"I remain bullish for next week in gold," said Kevin Grady, president of Phoenix Futures and Options. "The news about the coronavirus continues to worsen, so I think gold will remain volatile yet firm. The interesting thing to note is that the flight to quality remains steady in bonds but intermittent in gold."
Richard Baker, editor of the Eureka Miner’s Report, explained that profit-taking, forced long liquidation and low consumer demand in China likely all played a part in Comex gold retreating over the last week. But he looks for a comeback.
"Given the mounting uncertainty surrounding the impact this illness [coronavirus] will have on the U.S. economy and the world, I believe it likely that gold will recover lost ground next week to the $1,650 level...and to $1,800 per ounce in the weeks to come," Baker said.
He later added, "The lustrous metal and U.S. Treasurys will remain global safe havens of choice in a world of increasingly negative interest rates (the German Bund hit a new negative record low this a.m.). In the U.S., the 10-year real rate [which adjusts for inflation] is solidly negative, sustaining a very bullish environment for a non-interest earning asset like gold."
Adrian Day, chairman and chief executive officer of Adrian Day Asset Management, also said higher since "gold should act well during market instability."
Others fear further weakness.
"Momentum is to the downside," said Charlie Nedoss, senior market strategist with LaSalle Futures Group. He pointed out that the metal has now fallen below $1,621 area, which is the 50% retracement of the prior rise from the Feb. 5 low of $1,551.10 an ounce to Monday's high of $1,691.70.
Ronald-Peter Stoeferle, fund manager at Incrementum AG and author of the annual In Gold We Trust report, also said lower as margin calls kick in and sentiment and the heavily bullish position in the Commitments of Traders report looks worrisome. Further, if fiscal and monetary stimulus should be announced over the weekend, a relief rally in equities could hurt gold prices, he added.
Daniel Pavilonis, senior commodities broker with RJO Futures, looks for gold to be sideways.
"With the [stock] markets selling off the way they are, gold should be up a lot higher," he said.
However, he noted, there are some rumblings in the market that perhaps the Federal Reserve will undertake some action to underpin the stock market. If so, that could take away some of the safe-haven demand for gold.
"I would be more inclined to take a profit here in gold if I was long," he said. "That's why I'm saying next week maybe sideways."
Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, described himself as neutral.
"On the bearish side, despite high stock-market volatility through the week, gold peaked on Monday and has been sliding. Also, the global active coronavirus case count has been declining through the week [so] it's possible a lot of the hype could drop off at some point.
"On the bullish side, the increasing measures being undertaken by governments and businesses around the world to combat the outbreak could still have a larger and longer-lasting impact on the global economy, which may force the central banks to make a coordinated effort to get things going again at some point."