Goldman Sachs Group Inc. stood by its forecast for a rally in gold this year, saying that the precious metal will advance to $1,840 an ounce over six months as the U.S. central bank embarks on a third round of stimulus in June.
The precious metal remains the “currency of last resort,” according to analysts led by Jeffrey Currie in a report dated yesterday, the same day that gold sank to the lowest level in four months as Europe’s debt crisis boosted the dollar. The restated gold forecast implies a 15 percent surge.
Concerns that Greece may leave the euro reignited Europe’s crisis this week, driving commodities including gold lower along with base metals, crude oil and equities as the dollar climbed. The 17-nation euro area is on the verge of losing one of its members, according to the Bloomberg Global Poll published today.
“In early 2009, we suggested that gold had become the currency of last resort, overtaking the U.S. dollar’s status due the rising risk of sovereign default and debasement concerns,” Currie wrote in the report. Even as the U.S. currency advanced and gold fell on the European crisis in recent months, “it is too early for the dollar to reclaim this status,” they wrote.
Gold for June delivery was little changed on the Comex at $1,593.80 an ounce at 3:58 p.m. in Singapore after slumping for three days as Greek leaders struggled to form a government following elections at the weekend. The metal, which has lost 17 percent from its all-time high of $1,923.70 in September, is on course for a fourth monthly drop in May.
‘Remains in Place’
“The case for higher gold prices remains in place,” the analysts wrote. “U.S. economic and employment data has now disappointed for several weeks, European election results point to further stress in the euro area, while anecdotal data suggests that physical gold demand remains resilient.”
The U.S. Federal Reserve will announce additional monetary easing when policy makers meet next month, Jan Hatzius, chief economist at New York-based Goldman, predicted in a report on May 8. The central bank bought $2.3 trillion of bonds in two rounds of quantitative easing from December 2008 to June 2011 to drive the recovery in the world’s largest economy.
U.S. payrolls climbed by 115,000 workers in April, the smallest increase in six months, Labor Department reported last week, boosting concern that the recovery may falter. The jobless rate fell to a three-year low of 8.1 percent as people left the labor force, adding to worries that the expansion is cooling.
Gold, which has still risen 1.7 percent in New York in 2012, has rallied for 11 straight years as investors sought a hedge against inflation and central banks expanded reserves. Holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded products are at 2,382.016 metric tons, about 1.2 percent below the March 13 record, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
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