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Gold, Silver ETFs Could Languish; Moody’s Slashes Forecasts


Gold and silver exchange traded funds look tarnished after last year’s rout, and Moody’s Investors Service anticipates more pain for the precious metals ahead as central banks unwind accommodative measures and inflation remains subdued.

The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) fell 26.4% over the past year while the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) declined 35.9%. [A Technical View on Silver]

COMEX gold futures are trading around $1,227 per ounce and COMEX silvers futures are hovering around $19.6 per ounce. [2014 May Not be Much Better for Gold]

On Wednesday, Moody’s Investors Service cut its forward view on average gold and silver prices for 2014 and beyond to $1,100 per ounce and $18 per ounce, respectively, write Darren M. Kirk and Donald S. Carter on Moody’s. Previously, the ratings agency projected average prices of $1,200 per ounce and $20 per ounce over the next few years.

“These lower price expectations reflect significant deterioration in the spot price of gold and silver to about $1,200/oz and $20/oz, respectively, and fundamentals that seem unfavorable over the next couple of years as the global economy maintains forward momentum, governments unwind various stimulus programs, and the threat of inflation remains subdued in most major economies,” according to the press release. “Moody’s had previously indicated that it could lower its forward view if the price of gold was to persist below $1,300/oz.”

Additionally, precious metals producers could find it harder to squeeze out a profit as prices continue to drop. Moody’s points out that operating costs for gold producers rose as miners chased new and more costly production avenues while other key inputs, such as wages, power, consumables, exploration, environmental spending requirements and government royalties, also increased.

The ratings agency calculates that the all-in average cost of gold production is at least $1,100 per ounce from a combined $850 per ounce in operating costs and a minimum $250 per ounce of sustaining capital costs. Nevertheless, miners can cut back on costs, such as focusing on higher-grade ore, idling higher-cost mines, reduce exploration or diminish worker count.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) has declined 51.2% over the past year.

For more information on gold and silver, visit our gold and silver categories.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.