[Author’s note: the following originally appeared on CNBC.com]
Gold could be one of the few assets to profit from the political and economic turbulence in the United States as the “fiscal cliff” approaches, potentially creating a rally in the precious metal later in 2012 for it to reach $1,900 per ounce by the end of the year, analysts at HSBC said.
“Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions and the uncertainty of the U.S. November elections are theoretically gold-bullish,” and gold should perform better later in the year “when U.S. growth is poor and the dollar is weak,” a new HSBC report said.
[Related: Is the Gold Rush Over?]
“We expect prices to rally to above $1,900/oz by the end of the year. Patience is the most important commodity,” the report adds.
HSBC recommends holding onto gold as an asset that will gain in value as investors fear the future of the euro and dollar with governments and central banks expected to intervene to shore up their currencies’ strength.
According to commodities’ analysts at the bank, the outlook on gold is positive for the second half of the year despite the current stall in the gold rally due to a rise in supply, lack of demand in the jewelry sector and uncertainty about the European financial crisis and U.S. “fiscal cliff” approaching at the end of 2012, when the U.S. government must decide whether or not to increase taxes and introduce spending cuts, which could risk a slowdown similar to Europe’s.
Traditionally, gold has been a safe haven for investors looking to park their money in a stable asset, but so far in 2012, gold prices have slumped nearly $400/oz. From the record highs of September 2011 when an ounce fetched $1,920, prices have now fallen to around $1,600/oz over the last three months, prompting investors and analysts to question why the gold price isn’t racing higher as investors look for safe assets in a volatile economic environment.
HSBC’s analysts report that gold has previously bucked the trend of falling commodity prices because it is seen to be immune from governmental fiscal and monetary policies and as such it should, theoretically, attract investors as a “neutral” asset outside the risk on- risk off spectrum. Indeed, the report states, gold should retain its value as central banks seek to prop up their economic systems with quantitative easing that can undermine currency markets.
“The big four central banks have printed around $9 trillion during the current crisis, roughly equivalent to the total value of gold ever mined…[but] despite this long-standing pedigree as a safe haven, gold has noticeably failed to rally in the present economic turmoil.”
Rather than a rally, the eurozone crisis and uncertainty in the stability of currencies have led to a “contradictory dynamic” in investors’ reaction to gold, leading to the stall — but not a collapse — in the asset’s price.
“Periods of heightened euro zone concerns have typically led to equity market sell-offs, triggering margin-call-related selling in gold as investors seek to raise cash,” the report said.
“Also, U.S. dollar strength as the euro weakened in the face of persistent euro zone crises further weighed on gold [and] any safe-haven bid from the euro crisis has been offset by the associated rally in the U.S. dollar.”
“However, as the market becomes more fixated on the currency’s value as the U.S. fiscal cliff story gains greater traction,” they said.
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© 2012 CNBC.com, Holly Ellyatt, front page photo source: Seeking Alpha