Gold to stay under pressure

Gold to stay under pressure
An Indian salesman poses with a gold necklace at a jewellery store in New Delhi.

Dubai - Precious metal may slip below $1,100 in Q4 on Fed rate hike uncertainty.


Issac John

Published: Tue 3 Nov 2015, 8:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 4 Nov 2015, 2:00 AM

Gold is set to trade back down below $1,100 per ounce in the final quarter of 2015 with its price remaining under pressure until there is more clarity on the timing and scale of US rates' normalisation, a new forecast said on Monday.
The predicted sub-$1,100 price in the fourth quarter will bring the annual average price of the yellow metal to $1,159 per ounce in 2015.
Gold prices, which reached above $1,180 last Wednesday before the Fed news, dropped to around $1,140 in the early Friday session. On Thursday, gold plunged $28.80, or 2.45 per cent, after the Fed signalled that a December rate hike was still on the table.
The persisting bearish outlook, despite improving fundamentals in third quarter when physical demand for the metal surged seven per cent, has been forecast as India regained its top position as the largest overall consumer of gold this year through the third quarter. Total consumption in the third largest Asian economy amounted to 642 tonnes in the first nine months, with China trailing by 63 tonnes.
Among other bearish factors of gold identified by Thomson Reuters in its survey are low inflation expectations and generally weak investor sentiment towards precious metals. That said, gold may draw some support from a seasonal uptick in physical demand towards year-end, and the prospects look brighter for the next year.
According to the "Gold Survey: Q3 2015 Review and Outlook" report, the demand growth in third quarter was due to an increase in net official sector buying and a stellar level of retail purchases of bars and coins.
The survey found that third-quarter jewellery fabrication, the largest consuming sector, was marginally lower year-on-year, as higher demand in India was offset by a slow recovery in Chinese offtake, although demand in the latter was not as bleak as in the first half. However, total gold supply was slightly higher in the third quarter, largely thanks to a three per cent increase in global scrap supply, while mine production remained broadly flat compared to a year ago.
While jewellery consumption in India increased by five per cent year-on-year to 193 tonnes in third quarter, China's gold demand rebounded to 196 tonnes, a modest three per cent year-on-year improvement after a lacklustre second quarter.
In the third quarter, India had the highest quarterly consumption since first quarter 2011 and the highest third-quarter demand since 2008. Retail investment rose 30 per cent year-on-year to 55 tonnes, the highest since fourth quarter 2013. Gains in the third quarter were primarily attributed to the fall in the local gold price to the lowest since August 2011. Gross official imports to India in third quarter 2015 were 263 tonnes, up by 23 per cent year-on-year and also the highest quarterly volume year-to-date.
In China, improvement in gold demand during the third quarter was driven by several factors. First, with many investors having lost faith in the equity market, gold has regained its attractiveness as an alternative investment vehicle. Second, demand for gold, both in the form of jewellery and investment bars, picked up immediately after the gold price breached $1,100 in mid-July. Another game-changer had been the official depreciation of the yuan.
On the supply side, global mine production remained broadly flat in third quarter, up by less than one per cent year-on-year, with production provisionally estimated at 851 tonnes. The survey report said supply from scrap continued to recover for the second quarter in a row, rising by three per cent in third quarter, mainly thanks to stunning gains in India and Turkey, of 48 per cent and 154 per cent respectively. Excluding these countries, total scrap in the rest of the world declined by five per cent year-on-year.
ETF gold holdings declined by 61 tonnes in the third quarter, although buying seems to have returned in October.
"With only a marginal growth in total supply, the seven per cent increase in physical demand led to a smaller surplus in the market of 51 tonnes for third quarter," it said.

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