Ross Norman - SHARPS PIXLEY, LONDON - Forecast 2019
- Average: $1337
- High : $1410
- Low : $1280
It is tempting to call 2019 - like 1999 - as the year that gold pivoted. While 2000 saw a plethora of positive new initiatives making gold attractive and accessible, 2019 is more likely to be fuelled by more negative factors elsewhere. The dollar run and indeed equities strength are looking tired and even the rate tightening cycle looks to have largely run its course.
Recent gold price strength is encouraging, but January is consistently one of the best performing months as asset allocators shift a bundle into gold ETFs before the market flatlines again. On the charts gold looks to have clearly established a bottom - but it still has work to do to say that we are back in a bull run.
Encouragingly, gold is at or close to all-time highs in many currencies including the Aussie dollar and Indian rupee which has shown itself to often be a leading indicator.
Looking ahead, we see the 2 most important factors for gold being the dollar outlook and the $1365 technical resistance (a level largely unbreached most years since 2013). In short, gold is looking ‘constructive’ and we see the stage set for good gains.
- Average: $17.26
- High: $18.55
- Low : $14.10
If gold has been ‘unloved’ then silver was positively ‘disdained’ by investors during 2018. The disenchantment was clear through ETF holdings which, despite a modest price rise in Q4, saw investors scaling back. Sadly, the silver chart better mirrors that of bitcoin, than gold. Imagine, $50 just a few years ago ???
With the gold/silver ratio towards the upper end of its range, coupled with a positive outlook for gold, we should expect silver to outperform. However silver prices remain stubbornly inert and the market is yet to be shaken from its long slumber.
Looking ahead, both gold and silver have important technical resistance about 5% north of where we start the year. In silver’s case this is at $16.35. A breach of that level might embolden silver bulls and spur speculative activity. Our confidence is thin, but our bullish view of gold translates into a bullish view+ for silver - and never forget its capacity to surprise. We are going out on a limb here but think silver could be the big surprise of 2019.
- Average: $735
- High : $1000
- Low : $620
There used to be 2 truisms in PGMs - never go short, they have a capacity to surprise - caught short is invariably an expensive exercise. The second is “as go car sales, so goes platinum”. Both seem redundant these days.
Sadly the best thing one can say of platinum today is that it is really cheap - roughly a third the price it was a decade ago. And then there’s the floor formed by the marginal cost of production.
Platinum remains a quality metal and arguably one of the most efficacious out there, yet it’s at levels not seen since mid 2004. The charts suggest platinum should find a floor at $740 but we are not yet convinced it will hold. With global manufacturing looking weak and car sales tepid, it is hard to make a strong case for platinum. Investors with a long-term view may be encouraged by a gradual shift to a hydrogen-fuelled economy, but these developments are often more glacial than you might hope. The outlook for platinum in 2019 looks weak although we must surely be nearing the bottom of the cycle.
- Average: $1505
- High : $1715
- Low : $1261
Palladium was the stand-out performer of 2018 with a gain of 19% - we expect another stellar performance in 2019.
If any metal can go parabolic and sustain the rally, its palladium. With the market in backwardation and double-digit lease rates, it confirms the metal remains in short supply and its demand fundamentals are strong. In short, palladium looks vulnerable and has the capacity to surprise even further to the upside, especially if the supply deficit attracts speculators. More so, if the political risk from its biggest producer, Russia, becomes inflamed.
The main dark cloud for palladium remains the probability of lower passenger vehicle sales, especially in China, although tightening emission standards should keep loadings firm.
Having surpassed the gold price, palladium might even have an eye on the rhodium price. We expect further significant upside to palladium in 2019.