By YVONNE TAN
PETALING JAYA: Gold prices are expected to scale higher at least over the next one year before the gains are capped, given the economic uncertainties in advanced nations and the volatile US dollar, analysts said.
Gold is the beneficiary of all that instability in the markets right now, Scott Meyers, senior trading analyst with Pioneer Futures division of MF Global, told Dow Jones.
Goldman Sachs, in a recent research report, reiterated its forecast for the yellow metal to rise to US$1,690 an ounce over the next one year but said the gains would peak at US$1,750 an ounce in 2012 on expectations of strong US economic growth and hence a firmer greenback.
As we look toward 2012, we find it timely to reiterate our view that at current price levels gold remains a compelling trade, but not a long-term investment, the investment bank told its clients.
At press time yesterday, spot gold rose to settle at US$1,412.45 an ounce.
Investors switched their focus to buying gold last Friday, playing on its safe bet status after the US dollar, also another safe haven option, demonstrated its volatility falling steeply on disappointing job and economic data in the United States.
Spot gold broke past US$1,400 an ounce on Friday the first time since Nov 9 after data showed US jobless rate unexpectedly hit a seven-month high.
The dollar fell to a six-week low against major currencies the same day, reversing its recent rally trend.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday the central bank could buy more bonds to boost economic growth, which in turn means more liquidity in the markets to step up purchases of assets such as gold.
While a return to recession doesn't seem likely, Bernanke warned that US employment may take up to five years to fall to normal levels of 5% to 6% from its current 9.8%.
This recovery is feeble at best, and the trends that are in place, especially in the metals complex are going to be maintained, Pioneer Futures' Meyers said.
China, whose imports of gold increased close to five times in the first 10 months of this year versus 2009, will also help lift prices in the coming months on increasing demand, analysts who cover the bullion said.
China is reportedly the world's biggest bullion miner.
The current environment for gold was such a bullish one right now, Michael Widmer, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
Widmer expects prices to reach US$1,500 an ounce next year.
Gold, which is up 29% year-to-date, is not the only metal which has enjoyed a sterling performance this year.
Silver has advanced 76%, while platinum is up about 13%.
Analysts have pointed out the rising concerns of inflationary pressure given the strong rise in the prices of these core metals.