Gold has made an unheralded, but impressive comeback this year following a 30% drop in 2013. It has risen by over 9%, beating commodities, bonds and UK equities. It hit a four-month high of around $1,340 last month as the eurozone crisis briefly flared up again. Further gains look likely over the next few years.
Gold struggled last year as the US Federal Reserve began to ‘taper’ the amount of money it was printing. The prospect of even mildly tighter US monetary policy was seen as bad news for an asset that thrives on fear, bad news, and the threat of inflation. But tapering is now “priced in”, reckons Citigroup.
With interest rates still at historic lows, fears of eventual inflation have hardly gone away. And the longer rates stay low, the greater the risk of bubbles forming and bursting, adds Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), a worry that may bring new buyers into the market.
The appetite for gold from central banks and increasingly wealthy consumers in emerging markets remains healthy. Demand for gold jewellery has just recorded its best first quarter since 2005, according to the World Gold Council.
Throw in a wide range of geopolitical jitters, and it’s no wonder BAML sees gold averaging $1,375 next year, up from $1,308 in 2014.