Gold prices (in dollars) are down 20 per cent in 2013. Spot gold is currently trading at $1,391.30 an ounce. In India, gold futures for May delivery dipped below Rs. 26,000 per 10 gram mark earlier this week. Global investment bank Credit Suisse says "the sell-off could have further to run." If we were to pick an "ideal" ultimate target for the sell-off though, it would be $1085 (or Rs. 21,000 per 10 gram), Credit Suisse says.
Here are 10 reasons why gold prices may fall further:
- Gold expensive over the long term: In real terms (dollars adjusted for inflation), the average price of gold over the very long run (150 years) is around $520 an ounce against $1,391 an ounce currently, Credit Suisse says. Clearly, gold continues to be expensive over the long term average despite the sharp correction this year.
- Gold expensive against other commodities: Gold remains expensive when valued against hard assets, such as base metals and U.S. real estate, as well as against other investment classes such as US equities, Credit Suisse says.
- Global stock markets are at record highs. Besides, equities offer some dividend yield as well, which means the opportunity cost of holding gold has become too much to bear for many investors, Credit Suisse argues.
- Inflation no more a risk: Investors buy gold to hedge against inflation. However, policymakers in the developed world have failed to generate even moderate 2-2.5 per cent inflation, Credit Suisse says. So, gold as an inflation hedge is losing its charm as the prospects of a sharp move in prices remains remote. (Also read: Why 2013 may not be the year of gold)
- No imminent collapse of financial markets: The European Central Bank's commitment to preserve the euro and the determination of other leading central banks to underwrite risk and the recapitalization of financial institutions means reduced risk and thus reduced demand for insurance in the form of gold, Credit Suisse says.
- No threat to dollar: There have been numerous stories about the potential outbreak of "currency wars" amongst the major industrialized economies leading to forex instability. However, if everyone eases together, it will in theory not impact cross rates, Credit Suisse argues.
- QE coming to an end: The U.S. Federal Reserve has been printing money to shore up the U.S. economy. This liquidity has been driving up asset prices including gold. Credit Suisse says at least 435 tonnes of gold could be liquidated once the Fed withdraws quantitative easing, thereby putting further pressure on gold prices.
- Central banks are not buying gold despite falling prices and any intervention by them to support prices looks unlikely, Credit Suisse says.
- No support to gold prices from high production costs: While cost inflation across the gold mining sector has been high, the marginal cost (the change in total cost that comes from producing one additional item) is unlikely to provide support to gold price in the short to medium term, Credit Suisse says.
- Gold in bear territory: Going by the past trends, a 60 per cent retracement of the 2005 to September 2011 rally over the two and a half years would take gold back to around $1,000 an ounce (nominal) by the end of March 2014, Credit Suisse says.