Thanks to ongoing political uncertainty, gold is expected to reach an annual price performance that has not been seen since 2013, GFMS said in its Gold Survey 2018 report released on Tuesday (May 8).
The GFMS metals research team, a unit of Thomson Reuters, stated that uncertainty is driving the yellow metal’s safe-haven nature, increasing investment in bars and bullion-backed investment funds. Analysts also predict gold could average US$1,360 per ounce this year, which is an 8 percent increase from 2017.
“Uncertainty revolving around US President (Donald) Trump’s politics, along with ongoing tensions in the Middle East and Brexit negotiations will remain gold’s key drivers,” said GFMS.
Additionally, GFMS expects that 2018 will see demand by exchange traded funds (ETFs) rebounding to 350 tonnes.
“Retail investment is forecast to rise in 2018 following four consecutive years of declines, thanks to a pick-up in bar demand, supported by improving sentiment towards gold and rising price expectations,” GFMS said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese central bank, which is expected to resume purchases for the first time since 2015, will lead a rise in net official sector demand this year to more than 400 tonnes.
According to the survey, ETF demand totaled 177 tonnes in 2017, while physical gold demand, which includes the purchase of jewelry, coins and bars, had its first annual increase since 2013, climbing 10 percent.
Pushing the physical demand forward was a 13 percent climb in jewelry fabrication, due to a strong demand in India.
“Jewellery fabrication increased to the second highest level on record at 718 tonnes due to higher stocking,” stated GFMS.
Despite the increase in India, jewellery fabrication in East Asia fell for the fourth year in a row, finding its weakest level in five years.
The majority of this drop is attributed to a decline in Chinese fabrication, as China is its number one consumer.
2017 saw gold demand in China decrease 3 percent, with consumption throughout the country to weaken further as 2018 continues.
After falling for four years straight, global bar demand is expected to rise 1 percent and coin demand is forecast to remain flat after falling to its weakest since 2007 last year.
“The continual increase in the gold price has kept bargain hunters on the sideline, as coin investors are usually the most price sensitive in the market,” GFMS said.
“The improving sentiment over the economic outlook, particularly in the United States, have investors less interested in gold coins as their risk appetite increased,” it added.
In terms of mine production, the organization noted that it totalled 3,247 tonnes in 2017, which was the first time it has edged down since 2008.
Looking forward, GFMS expects mine output to hit a record 3,265 tonnes, stating, “we expect Asian countries such as Indonesia, Mongolia and China to contribute to gains in the current year, accompanied by Russia, Australia and Canada.”
As of 2:00 p.m. EST, the yellow metal was down 0.06 percent, trading at US$1312.80 per ounce.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Nicole Rashotte, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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