UBS has downgraded its average gold price forecast for gold largely because of greater downside risks stemming from lower oil prices and the implied absence of an inflation threat, it said.
The broker lowered its 2015 gold price forecast to $1,190 from $1,200 – the spot metal price was last at a little-changed $1,228/1,228.70 per ounce.
“While the expected price direction remains the same, the magnitude of our previous price expectations was too aggressive and needed to be revised lower,” it said in a release on Thursday.
“Fed [monetary policy] normalisation and dollar strength are considerable hurdles for gold, but reduced market length and the fact that much of the adjustment had already been made in the last couple of years should help limit the force behind a move lower,” it added.
Uncertainty about the eurozone economy, which is stagnating and risks falling into recession again, is burnishing gold’s safe-haven qualities. But the resultant weaker euro and stronger dollar are muddying the waters; the same reaction is likely should the ECB launch large-scale sovereign QE.
The dollar is firm against the euro, holding around nine-year highs at 1.1761.
Another risk is that a wider gap between market expectations on US rates and the Federal Reserve’s own forecasts increases the potential for a bigger adjustment should the Fed turn more aggressive, bringing market consensus more in line with its thinking, UBS aid.
For silver, it lowered its forecasts across the board to reflect weaker-than-expected sentiment, highlighted by the gold:silver ratio staying above 70.
Restoring investor interest is likely to play out over a longer timetable, the bank said, maintaining the view that silver should outperform gold but that this must take time to unfold.
“Despite silver’s year-to-date positive performance and gains in positioning, it’s still premature to call for a significant return of investor interest – more evidence is needed and industrial demand needs to step up,” UBS said.
It lowered its average silver price forecast for this year to $18.20 from $18.40 and sees it averaging $20.00 in 2016, down from $21.0 previously. For 2015, UBS sees silver averaging $21.00, down from its earlier forecast of $22.00.
The lacklustre fourth-quarter performance of platinum suggests continued weak investor sentiment, the bank said, pushing back its expected recovery.
It lowered its 2015 average price forecast to $1,400 from $1,500, its 2016 prediction to $1,500 from $1650, its 2017 expectation to $1,650 from $1,800 and its 2018 forecast to $1,800 from $2,100.
This downgrade also coincides with smaller deficits than previously forecast, which have been driven by higher than expected mine supply and downgrades to expected autocatalyst demand, UBS said.
While it expects deficits in future, market positioning presents a challenge amid concerns that the trade may become too crowded, it said.
For palladium, UBS lowered its 2015 average forecast to $900 from $925 but kept its forecasts further unchanged, which it said is in line with robust fundamentals and favourable underlying investor sentiment.
(Editing by Mark Shaw)