After a devastating year for bullion, gold exchange traded funds are slowly regaining some lost ground as greater safe-haven demand and increased Asia consumption help bolster prices.
The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) is up 8.7% year-to-date.
After a 28% decline over 2013, gold prices are up 9.6% so far this year, trading around $1,318 per ounce.
“Gold has started to shed its stigma, if slowly,” Tully and Teves said in a report, reports Phoebe Sedgman for Bloomberg.. “Over the past thirteen months gold was either the favorite asset to short or to ignore completely. Recent developments, however, suggest that this is no longer the case, and momentum is returning.”
UBS AG is raising its forecast for gold in 2014 to a one-month forecast of $1,280 an ounce from $1,180 and the three-month outlook to $1,350 from $1,100.
UBS analysts Edel Tully and Joni Teves upwardly advised their gold projection to an average $1,300 in 2014 from the previous estimate of $1,200, with a 2015 target of $1,200.
The analysts point to support from safe-haven investors who are seeking to hedge against potential market risk, such as volatility in the emerging markets. [Gold ETF Holdings Surge on Safety Bets, Rising Demand]
Additionally, the improved sentiment in the gold market is also being strengthened by increased physical bullion purchases in Asia – Chinese consumers purchased a record 1,065.8 metric tons last year, or 32% higher year-over-year, overtaking India as the world’s largest gold market.
There is a “positive sentiment shift taking place amongst U.S. investors towards gold,” Tully and Teves said. “This marks quite a sea-change in attitude and, in turn, a sizeable potential boost for the metal.”
While safe-haven and Chinese demand will help gold prices, the analysts warn against being too optimistic.
“Although we feel gold isn’t deserving of a price tag north of $1,400, a price sub $1,200 seems similarly undeserved,” the UBS analysts added. “Effectively we see gold higher, but within a range.”
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Max Chen contributed to this article.
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of GLD.