Well, the first full day of this year’s LBMA/LPPM conference is now behind us as delegates leave the conference venue at the Vienna Hilton hotel to attend the conference dinner at the Liechtenstein Garden Palace, but there is little else to be of good cheer about given the general opinions of the speakers at the event. Gold has now effectively been in a bear market for the past three years, despite a bit of a pick-up over the past month, but most of the speakers so far seem to expect precious metals to resume their downward trend. Indeed three out of the four members of a conference panel on gold investment – and the panel moderator – all reckoned that not only would the gold price continue to fall, but that it could continue its decline for at least a couple more years and head down towards the $800 an ounce level.
As I pointed out in an article on this published on sharpspixley.com – LBMA: Little cheer for gold investors from LBMA conference panel this was extremely similar to the consensus of a panel discussion on paper gold at the Denver Gold Forum a month ago at a time when virtually every bank analyst was predicting falls down to $1,000 and below, but ever since then the gold price has continued to confound, and is currently some $40 higher than it was at the time of the Denver event.
But talking to delegates in Vienna, who mostly come from what might be considered the more realistic side of the gold sector rather than from the mining companies, which in effect tend to be optimists just to be involved in the mining business at all, there would seem to be few dissenters from the panel’s consensus view. If you are a contrarian now may well be the time to buy!
So what is there that might be going for the gold price? Global political developments – particularly in the Middle East, but also in Eastern Europe and southeast Asia – have the potential to flare up. Eurozone finances are still fragile. There are elections due in a number of countries which could impact global gold supply. Beware of ‘unknown unknowns’ as one speaker at the LBMA conference noted. There also appears to be a strong degree of support for the metal if it falls below $1,100, although perhaps this hasn’t really been tested.
Also Chinese demand, as expressed by the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) deliveries level, which has already exceeded 2,000 tonnes year to date, and is 300 tonnes higher than at the same time as in the record 2013 year (See: Shanghai gold deliveries surpass 2,000 tonnes already this year) needs to be taken into account. These figures may well be enhanced by gold demand from the financial sector, which isn’t included in the consumption assessments by the major precious metals analytical consultancies, but nonetheless still takes gold off the markets – unless or until it this financial element is liquidated or otherwise unwound.
We have come across the occasional opinion here, though, which is gold supportive, seeing further improvement in the price by the year end and a continuation of this trend in 2016 – but this hasn’t tended to be the consensus. Perhaps we’ve just been talking mostly to the gold pessimists!
So perhaps the gold outlook isn’t quite as dismal as one hears for the most part here in Vienna – but then those looking for a continual price fall are mostly seasoned gold traders and analytical veterans so their views certainly can’t be dismissed. Indeed many profess to be gold believers overall, but are still looking for short to medium term falls.