How will gold prices perform in 2013?

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Gold price has risen for 12 consecutive years since the end of 2000, positioning the yellow metal as one of the longest-running bull markets in history. Gold prices started 2012 at US$1,531 per ounce and by December 31st closed the year at US$1,657 per ounce. Despite gold’s lacklustre performance it still delivered a positive gain of 8 per cent from the beginning of 2012. 

At the start of 2012, some market participants forewarned that gold’s performance was likely to be more moderate than in the past – and it was.  For a market used to a 17 per cent year-on-year gain, a single digit percentage increase certainly made it feel like a bear market at times. Interestingly, gold’s biggest monthly rise was in January when gold returned 11 per cent. Growing economic uncertainty and major news events such as QE3, the US presidential election and the fiscal cliff; all had an impact on precious metals. As we turn the calendar over, the question concerning many investors now is – how will gold price perform in 2013?

Every healthy bull market goes through periods of consolidation and gold is no exception. Given the extent of the 2008 to 2011 super-charged rally, the fact prices have consolidated is unsurprising – that’s a natural cycle within any bull market. Looking at the long-term picture, I’m optimistic that gold's bull run will continue. Here are three significant reasons why I believe this bull market still has a long way to go.

Firstly, gold tends to perform positively in times of economic uncertainty. The global economic drivers which have brought the yellow metal to where it is today are virtually all still in place. The uncertainty regarding the US economy, the Eurozone and geopolitical risk in parts of the Middle East are still present and are likely to persist throughout 2013.

The fiscal cliff may have come and gone, however the US now faces an even bigger issue – the debt ceiling. In a nutshell, the debt ceiling is the maximum amount that the US is allowed to borrow based on the limit set by Congress. Currently the limit is US$16.4 trillion, which the country hit on the last day of 2012. As of today, the US debt load stands at exactly US$16,452,329,914,255, according to the U.S debt clock website.

Decision makers have six weeks to close a deal on the debt limit. A failure to do so, could mean a default on US debt – a similar situation that led to the US credit downgrade in 2011. This of course sent gold prices rallying to US$1,921 per ounce shortly thereafter.

Secondly, central banks will play a pivotal role in determining gold’s performance in 2013. Last year, central banks switched from being net sellers of gold to net buyers. The most active buyers were emerging market economies. In the first nine months of 2012, central banks in emerging markets bought a total of 500 tonnes of gold – up from 465 tonnes in 2011. In the Middle East, that included the central bank of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iraq and Turkey. This trend is likely to continue into 2013 and will certainly have a positive impact on prices.

Thirdly, global gold demand is also an important factor to consider. Demand for gold is widely dispersed around the world. China, India and the United Arab Emirates account for approximately 65 percent of consumer demand and that figure is projected to increase this year. 

Chinese inflation data released last week showed positive signs that, the East Asian economy is bottoming out and beginning to recover again. Along with it, Chinese gold demand is estimated to grow around 10 percent this year from about 800 tonnes in 2012, according to The World Gold Council.

India’s imports have more than doubled in three years and investment demand has climbed almost fivefold. All this occurred while prices were rising, which barely even caused a slump in India’s demand. This trend will continue and may even strengthen.

In Dubai – the world's leading precious metals hub, gold is now the Emirates second bigger export earner after oil, according to the DMCC. This trend is likely to continue as long as there is demand from India and China. Dubai has 29 per cent market share of global gold trade with nearly 1,200 tonnes – worth about US$41bn changing hands. That's up from around US$6bn worth traded in the Emirate in 2003.

In conclusion, there remains a multitude of factors that will influence gold prices in 2013 and beyond. Despite the recent price distractions, nothing has really changed. The global economic issues, which have brought gold price to where it is today, are far from over and still persist. Looking ahead, gold will require more patience than it used to, but prices have plenty of reason to soar in the long-term.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: kiliman

any comments from Mr.Nik Kalsi on the downward slide in gold prices ? As usual, the analyst is dead wrong.

Posted by: Ajaz

This is a very insightful article and I agree, gold should be viewed as 'risk-on' asset and it's future will be determined by global political and economic news. It's not a surprise most of the world has been in a mess for the past 12 years and gold has risen. Things will not get better for a long-time and golds value will carry on going up.

Posted by: Jack Murphy

The Wallstreet Banksters (Fed and ECB) are flooding the world with worthless Cyber-Money.

They have taken the real world (commodities, stock markets etc) as booty by paying with "created non-value currencies = $ & ? ".

When this blown-up ponzi-scam comes to a screaching halt a world-wide currency revaluation will take place and there will be only one currency remaining with value: GOLD.

Posted by: Abdul hafeez Sheikh

Gold uses have been diversified recently We should not see Godl as precious metal only , The use of Gold in various industries as raw material will always keep the price on rise .Therefore the price of gold can not be attributed directly as condition of economy , as its has other uses and demand and supply determines the price of gold like other metals

Posted by: Peter Doherty

Incisive analysis Mr Kalsi. So you see no big recovery from the US economy (that traditionally keeps gold in check?) No mention of Euro crisis. Greece have exceeded expectations and remain in the Euro, contrary to the predictions of leading US Economists. Do you think a recovery in the Eurozone would impact favourably on gold?

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