30 January 2015
Gold Surprise Rally Lures Investors as Goldman Warns of Drop
(Bloomberg) - Gold’s longest rally in two years is spurring investors to return to precious metals just as signs emerge that the gains may be petering out.
U.S. exchange-traded products backed by precious metals took in $1.9 billion this month through Jan. 28, the first inflow since July and the biggest since September 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Gold prices dropped 2.4 percent on Jan. 29, cutting this month’s rally to 6.5 percent, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said this week it expects the metal will fall over the next year.
After shunning gold for two straight years, investors are coming back to the metal as officials in Europe and Asia fight stagnating economies with more stimulus. Weaker foreign expansion had also increased bets that the Federal Reserve would delay raising interest rates. This week’s statement from the policy makers that cited “solid” U.S. growth damped that speculation, and bullion on Thursday capped the biggest decline since 2013.
“While the gold market is viewing the Fed statement as negative and the U.S. economy is getting stronger, one cannot ignore the economic stress in Europe and China,” Jeff Sica, the president of Circle Squared Alternative Investments, which oversees $1.5 billion, said in a telephone interview Jan. 29 from Morristown, New Jersey. “I don’t think investors will abandon gold now as a lot of easy money is getting added to the system.”
Futures in New York climbed for three straight months, the longest rally since September 2012, and January’s advance is still poised to be the largest since February 2014. Hedge funds and other speculators have the biggest net-bullish bet on gold in two years, U.S. government data show. Assets in global ETPs backed by the metal are heading for the biggest monthly increase since 2011.
Gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,260.60 an ounce on the Comex in New York by 10:13 a.m. Singapore time. Fed policy makers boosted their assessment of the U.S. economy and labor market after concluding a two-day meeting on Jan. 28.
Commodities will lag behind equities, bonds and credit markets over the next three months because of losses in oil, gold and copper, Goldman analysts said in a report dated Jan. 27. The precious metal will drop to $1,175 in 12 months, the bank said.
Bullion tumbled 29 percent in the previous two years as the American economy improved. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is near its highest level in a decade with the Fed the only central bank among developed nations considering raising interest rates this year. Higher rates cut gold’s allure because the metal generally offers investors returns only through price gains.
“The pressure on gold remains because of the Fed’s plans to raise rates this year,” Rob Haworth, a senior investment strategist in Seattle at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $126 billion, said by telephone on Jan. 29. “I continue to remain bearish on gold.”
Still, the Fed said this week that policy makers will take “international developments” into account when considering lifting borrowing costs, and repeated a pledge to be “patient.”
A collapse in oil prices boosted the appeal of gold amid the threat of economy-damaging deflation. The European Central Bank’s $1.2 trillion pledge for bond buying and stimulus in Japan has raised the appeal of alternatives to currencies that are being revalued.
“It looks like gold has bottomed,” John Apruzzese, who helps manage $5.5 billion at Evercore Wealth Management in New York, said in a telephone interview on Jan. 28. The firm invests in equities, bonds, mortgage-backed securities, liquid and illiquid alternatives. “We think that there is a distinct possibility that the Fed may delay raising rates. We are considering going back to gold.”