(Bloomberg) -- Gold’s rally to the highest since 2013 may have room to run further after the Federal Reserve indicated a readiness to cut borrowing costs, which would keep real rates low and weigh on the dollar, according to BlackRock Inc.
“Gold could end the year higher,” Russ Koesterich, portfolio manager at the $27 billion BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, said in an interview. “If we continue to see a pivot toward easier monetary policy from the Fed, then I think gold can go higher from here,” he said, adding that there is likely to be some pullback and consolidation in the near-term.
Gold is back in the limelight as investors seek havens amid slowing global growth due to the fallout from the U.S.-China trade dispute and as central banks globally adopt a more dovish tone. While the Fed left its key rate unchanged on Wednesday, it dropped a reference to being “patient” on borrowing costs and forecast a larger miss of their 2% inflation target this year. The greenback weakened to erase its 2019 gains.
“If easier policy from the Fed contains the dollar, that’s an environment, all else equal, that is supportive of gold,” Koesterich said last week in a phone interview after the central bank’s decision. “What I’d add is if we get a situation where the Fed is easing perhaps more than people thought because trade frictions are rising, that might be a particularly strong period for gold.”
The Fed would be easing at the same time as volatility would be rising and demand from investors for hedges would be going up, he said.
Spot gold rose as much as 0.8% to $1,411.23 an ounce and traded at $1,406.02 at 7:12 a.m. in London. Prices surged to $1,411.63 on Friday, the highest level in more than five years. Citigroup Inc. said Thursday that the enthusiasm is justified, with $1,500 to $1,600 possible in the next 12 months under a bullish-case scenario that includes borrowing costs falling below zero.
The Fed last cut rates in 2008 and began its most recent tightening cycle at the end of 2015, with four hikes last year. The so-called dot plot, which the U.S. central bank uses to signal its outlook for the path of interest rates, shows that policy makers are divided for the remainder of 2019. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi last week paved the way for a rate cut, and counterparts in Australia, India and Russia have lowered borrowing costs.
“In the near term, gold, like bonds, has had a very large move, so it would not be surprising if there was some consolidation,” said Koesterich, adding that BlackRock’s bullion holdings through exchange-traded funds have been “relatively static” over the last month. “But if we are moving into a period where the Fed or other central banks feel the need to ease monetary conditions, gold is probably going to have a better environment than it did earlier this year.”
(Updates price in sixth paragraph.)
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