Should you go contrarian on Gold?

This time, last year, almost all believed the metal would rise through the year. Analysts issued an average price forecast of $1,753 per troy ounce. Instead, gold averaged $1,411, suffering its first down year in 13 and worst year since 1981. By New Year’s eve the price was $1,202.

Gold ETF (USD):

Gold ETF (INR):


Investment demand for physical gold fell 25% last year. ETFs that keep gold in vaults on behalf of investors have dumped nearly 30m ounces from a high of 84.6m ounces at the end of 2012.

Currie, Goldman Sachs’s head of commodities research, had a target of $1,050 an ounce back in early October. The biggest gold bulls have abandoned ship. Paulson told clients at his firm’s annual meeting Nov. 20 that he personally wouldn’t invest more money in his gold fund. Billionaires George Soros and Daniel Loeb sold their entire positions in the SPDR Gold Trust exchange-traded fund in the second quarter.

Given so much hatred about gold, should the contrarian investor jump in? No. The odds of runaway inflation is low, equity market returns are likely to be more attractive compared to gold’s in the near term and investors are still in the process of pulling money out of gold funds. There will come a time to challenge the bearish thesis on gold, but investors going long right now could end up being too early.

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Gold bulls lose faith in bullion’s allure
Goldman’s Currie Says Gold Is ‘Slam Dunk’ Sell
Paulson Said to Inform Clients He Won’t Add More to Gold

Gold: The New Normal

Credit Suisse published a report – Gold: The Beginning of the End of an Era – back in February. The basic thesis was that the peak of the fear trade has now passed and that against any sensible benchmark gold still appears significantly overvalued relative to the long run historical experience. Its important to keep the bigger picture in mind before you rush to buy the dips.

Here are some charts from the same report.

Long run gold price, real, 2007 dollars

The real price of gold (2007 dollars) remains at an extreme level

Gold is still near the long run highs in terms of base metals

Is gold really an inflation hedge

Gold is trading 3 standard deviations below the exponential trend


TL;DR: gold is expensive, has broken its uptrend and is a poor inflation hedge (in terms of USD).
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Is a bottom in sight for Gold?

The price of gold in USD terms is approaching the cost of production:


Simple logic would dictate that gold miners will start mothballing mines if its no longer feasible to mine and ship gold.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the days to come…

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Gold trumps stocks for third Diwali in row

The yellow metal is on course to record sparkling returns for third year in row despite a strong year for equities.

While investors in gold have reaped over 15% returns since last Diwali, the returns from Sensex has been a fixed deposit-like gain of about 8.5 % for the same period.

While the precious metal has risen from Rs 26,700 levels last Diwali to Rs 30,700 currently, the BSE benchmark Sensex has risen from near-17,300 levels to 18,755 since last Diwali. Gold prices have also more than tripled from Rs 10,000 levels to Rs 31,000 in the last five years. India is the largest consumer of gold with an annual demand of about 700 tonnes.


The fact that gold jewelry and investment demand remains robust despite the rising prices is a reflection of the inherent desire among Indians to hold gold driven mainly by its alluring appeal as a jewelry and as a safe-haven against inflation that erodes both savings and income.

The impact of the European sovereign debt crisis, inflationary pressures and the still-shaky outlook for economic growth in developed countries is driving high levels of investment demand for the precious metal.


From gold coins, gold jewelry to MFs and ETFs, robust consumer appetite in gold’s cultural heartlands, India and China, has seen global prices rise from $270 an ounce in 2001to more than $1700 an ounce as on November this year. India, the world’s largest gold consumer and China account for over 55% of global gold jewelry demand and 52% gold investment demand.

Gold is being seen as a safest hedge against credit risk, currency risk and inflation that has besieged the financial world in the last decade. With the financial world navigating from one hurdle to another like the mortgage crisis to the banking crisis to the current sovereign debt crisis, investors have sought refuge under gold to protect their wealth.


Apart from sluggish growth in stock markets and high inflation rates, a spurt in central banks gold buying since 2009 after being net seller for over two decades has also contributed significantly to demand and thereby prices.

Off late, gold ETF investments are gaining ground at a rapid pace and are increasingly emerging as preferred route for long term investment in gold.

Technical Analysis

Despite the Finance Ministry’s measures to discourage investments in gold, assets under management of gold ETFs crossed the Rs 11,000 crore mark in September this year from Rs 10,701 crore in August and Rs 5,000 cr in May 2011, reflecting the robust appetite for the yellow metal.

Even as jewelry demand has been declining due to the volatile prices, a reflection of the price-sensitive nature of this segment, the rush for gold ETFs has meant that AUMs have soared from Rs 138 crore in April 2007 to Rs 11,198 crore in September, 2012 — over 80 times in 5 years.

With Diwali and Dhanteras round the corner, festive flavor is expected to add more color to the yellow metal and garner greater portfolio share of investors.

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China to overtake India in one more thing

National emblem of the People's Republic of China

Image via Wikipedia

Warren Buffet may not like gold that much, but apparently Indians and Chinese haven’t received his latest newsletter. And not only that, China is set to overtake India as the world’s largest consumer of gold. Chinese demand has more than tripled from 2010.

Given that both growth and inflation remain high in China, it appears that gold is being seen as a hedge against inflation. Also, Beijing has encouraged gold consumption, announcing in 2010 measures to promote and regulate the local gold market, including expanding the number of banks allowed to import bullion.

After completely dominating the copper market (China accounts for 40% of global copper demand), it appears that China is about to wade into the bullion shop.

Investors looking to get exposure to gold via ETFs can look towards GOLDBEES or KOTAKGOLD.

Source: FT