Each year The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) organises a competition whereby it invites a number of professional analysts, mostly from banks and other financial institutions, to predict precious metals prices for the year ahead. This year it received entries from a record 35 such analysts and one would think the accumulated expertise, averaged out, might be a great indicator of what is to happen in the year ahead. But, be warned, on past performances this is sometimes far from the case. The individuals are also asked to give their reasons for their predictions and these make for some interesting reading. The full resultant ‘survey is available for download directly from the LBMA by clicking on this link.
A slightly edited version of the executive summary for the competition entries and averages is set out below:
Tabulation courtesy of the LBMA
This year’s LBMA forecast contributors are predicting that the gold price will remain broadly flat in 2015, but are more bullish (marginally) on the price prospects of the other precious metals forecasting increases of 2.1% (silver), 5.6% (platinum) and 5.3% (palladium) from that prevailing over the first two weeks of the year. Ross Norman of Sharps Pixley is the most bullish analyst with his forecast of $1,321 for the average gold price which gives him a great advantage should the gold price take off this year as anything above this level will gain him victory in the gold price competition and add to his impressive tally of past first places. Adam Myers of Credit Agricole the most bearish with $950 and he again would benefit should the gold price take a really big dive this year and end amongst the debris promulgated by the out and out anti-gold brigade.
(For the record, here at LawrieOnGold we do believe that there are enough positive factors out there for gold that Ross Norman’s prediction could even be conservative and that Adam Myers’ bleak forecast, which if it came about would probably drive 50% of the world’s gold mines into serious deficit and likely closure, is the most unlikely result for the year. But we shall see.)
The analysts cite a number of factors which they see as likely to restrain gold prices in 2015, including the possible further strengthening in the US dollar, interest rate hikes by the Fed possibly commencing in the second half of 2015, QE programmes in Europe (although some see this as gold positive) and a weak oil price reducing gold’s attraction as a hedge against inflation. But the price could be supported by strong retail demand from China, India and elsewhere but only limited support is expected this year from the official sector suggesting a decline in Central Bank purchases.
Analysts are slightly more optimistic about the prospects of silver in 2015, forecasting a modest increase in price of 2.1% to $16.76/oz, with prices forecast to trade in an average range of $13.91 to $19.36. Ross Norman is again the most bullish ($18.56) with Robin Bahr of SocGen the most bearish ($13). Negative price factors again include expected strengthening of the dollar, disinflation as well as slow growth from China and the Eurozone thus affecting industrial demand for the metal. But some positive factors which could lend support to prices include expected additional global investment in solar power, continued support of silver ETFs and expectations that retail investors may take advantage of attractive prices.
Analysts are more bullish about the prospects of the platinum group metals in 2015 despite the current fall in the platinum price to below that of gold. Platinum is expected to be the best performer with prices forecast to average $1,294 in 2015, 5.6% higher than its price in the first half of January although still 6.6% below its average price in 2014. Bart Melek of TD Securities offers the most bullish forecast of $1,434 and Glyn Stevens of International Commodities the most bearish at $1,098. Analysts cite positive influences on the price to include a supply deficit (despite expected improvement in South African production). Rising costs might also push prices higher along with strong demand from China and industrial investors. On the negative side is the weak outlook for gold prices and macro-economic factors which are likely to act as a restraint on prices.
Palladium prices are forecast to average $838.40, up 5.3% from where it started the year and 4.4% above its average price in 2014. Rene Hochreiter of Sieberana Research is the most bullish with a forecast of $950 and again Glyn Stevens the most bearish with a forecast of $738. The palladium price is expected to benefit from a supply deficit as well as improving industrial demand and strong car sales in North America and China.
Overall all credit should be accorded to the analysts for setting precise forecasts out for all to see opening their judgements up to negative comment should they end up being way out in their predictions. But then the kudos for being nearest to correct can bring some very positive accolades from their peers and followers.
To find out more about what the analysts predict will happen to prices for precious metals this year, and tables showing also their high and low price forecasts for the precious metals and what the factors are which are likely to affect their price, read their ‘expert’ views by clicking on the link noted at the start of the article and repeated here.