(Bloomberg) -- For Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts, gold’s rally above $1,500 is just the beginning.
Analysts at the bank predict that prices already at six-year highs will climb to $1,600 an ounce over the next six months as investors seek havens. The dimming global economic outlook, fueled by heightening trade tensions between the U.S. and China are boosting gold’s appeal as a hedge against financial turmoil.
“If growth worries persist, possibly due to a trade war escalation, gold could go even higher, driven by a larger ETF gold allocation from portfolio managers who still continue to under-own gold,” Goldman analysts including Sabine Schels said in a note Wednesday. “Gold ETFs have recently built momentum almost as strong as in 2016, and we believe that can be maintained in the short-term.”
Bullion holdings in ETFs climbed to the highest since April 2013 amid a financial market meltdown that saw more than $700 billion wiped from the value of U.S. equities on Monday. The argument for owning gold as protection to one’s wealth got louder after the market value of the Bloomberg Barclays Global Negative Yielding Debt Index closed at a record $15 trillion at the start of the week.
Industrial production in Germany posted its biggest annual decline in almost a decade, adding to fears that the world economy could be moving closer to its first recession in a decade. In the Asia-Pacific region, central banks in New Zealand, India and Thailand made surprise interest-rate cuts as they sought to shield their economies from global headwinds. The moves came just a week after the Federal Reserve lowered U.S. borrowing costs for the first time in more than a decade.
Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Michael Widmer said the metal could climb toward $2,000 in the next two years, as “the recent dovish tilt by central banks, accompanied by increases of negative yielding assets” provide a good backdrop that could sustain the rally. The metal reached a record $1,921.17 in the spot market in 2011.
“We believe that there are further cuts coming,” Widmer said Wednesday in a Bloomberg TV interview. “Talk about easing in other parts of the world as well, that drowns out everything else on the dollar, for instance.” Increased volatility could see gold prices spike above the bank’s base case forecast of $1,500, fueling the rally.
The precious metal climbed as much as 2.4% in the spot market on Wednesday to $1,510.46 an ounce, the highest since April 2013. On the Comex in New York, futures touched $1,522.70, before settling at $1,519.60 at 1:30 p.m.
Goldman said Wednesday it raised its 2019 outlook for ETF demand to 600 metric tons this year, from 300 tons, and boosted its six-month price forecast after the metal surpassed the bank’s previous target of $1,475.
UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. are also bullish on gold, forecasting prices could rise to as high as $1,600.
--With assistance from Scarlet Fu.
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