Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Gold gains more than 1% but will it continue?

The gold price gained more than 1% this morning. It's a bit unnerving for someone waiting on the sidelines hoping the gold price will fall far enough to justify selling in December.

But here's what seems to be happening today: the euro rose against the dollar but commentators tell Reuters it's not a longterm trend and Indians started buying gold again (Reuters again).  I try to get my head around both of these issues below  - the Indian buying story may not be a longterm one yet either.

But it seems no one really expects much real movement on Europe until the results of Spanish and Italian bond auctions on Thursday and Friday. Is there any reason to buy gold before then?

Well the gold price shot up today:

The gold ETFs I do not own gained too -

As the falling dollar played a big part in the gain any changes in the pound sterling denominated PHGP looks a bit less impressive/painful and these are the changes you'd get if you owned PHAU, the dollar version anyway - which is what I'd buy. The Bloomberg dollar index chart shows the dollar moving lower. (Reuters said this was due to short covering on the euro:"Traders said there was no fundamental reasons for the short squeeze in the euro with news out of Europe continuing to paint a dreary picture.")

The pound moving in the same direction as the euro - up today (the green figures above the chart) but moving downwards over the last month (the chart). It's opposite relationship to the dollar is likely to get stronger? (Reuters story: )

Adding to a list of gold watchers who think the price of gold is more likely to fall than rise in the short term appears to be Perth Mint's Bron Suchecki (also Gold Chat) whose negative views included the effect of MF Global: "This is not necessarily negative in the long run, as these investors may instead opt for direct physical investment, but in the meantime any contraction in leveraged paper positions puts pressure on the gold price."

The other key factor he cites is Indian gold demand: "Physical Indian ounce demand will return eventually but in the short run the situation  continues to be negative, with Reuters reporting Prithviraj Kothari as saying "Still prices  are high. Interest rates are high. Liquidity is tight. I think imports in the first quarter of  2012 will be 50 percent lower than last year."

Although he adds that there is some pick-up of bar demand and that a change, when it comes, will be very fast.

Just this morning Reuters said dealers in Mumbai said a drop in local prices to a one-week low was used to stock up ahead of wedding season beginning later this month. Harshad Ajmera, proprietor of JJ Gold House in Kolkata said: "Buying will continue until March."

It also said India's central bank has allowed four more banks to import precious metals which would boost competition and help reduce premiums.

In the same report Reuters quotes Macquarie analyst Hayden Atkins who said "A big part of the weakness into the end of the year was people taking profits and liquidity being a bit lower."

He said that the end of this process might explain why an inverse correlation between the dollar and the euro/gold.

"I would expect that to unwind, and maybe that's why we're seeing stronger gold even when the euro is tending to weaken. You don't have that length there any more." He told Reuters he expected gold's inverse link to the dollar to drive prices in this year.