Goldman forecasts gold rally amid debt-ceiling confrontation

by on January 21, 2013 5:32 am BST

Gold may climb over the next three months as U.S. lawmakers attempt to tackle the country’s debt ceiling and the world’s largest economy slows, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said, advising investors to place bets on advances.

“We see current prices as a good entry point to re- establish fresh longs,” analysts Damien Courvalin and Alec Phillips wrote in a Jan. 18 report. The bank reiterated a three- month target of $1,825 an ounce, as well as a forecast for prices to weaken in the second half as the U.S. economy rebounds.

Gold fell 5.5 percent last quarter, the worst performance since 2008, on expectations for a recovery and potential end to central bank stimulus in the U.S. An advance to $1,825 would be consistent with rallies into debt-ceiling decisions, the analysts wrote. Since 1960, Congress has raised or revised the debt limit 79 times, according to the Treasury Department.

“The uncertainty associated with these issues, combined with our economists’ forecast for weak U.S. GDP growth in the first half of 2013 following the negative impact of higher taxes will push gold” to the three-month target, they wrote.

Gold, which rallied for a 12th year in 2012, traded at $1,689.50 an ounce on the Comex at 10:17 a.m. in Singapore. Holdings in exchange-traded products reached a record last month, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Most-active prices last traded above $1,825 an ounce in September 2011.

The Treasury has said the U.S. will exceed its $16.4 trillion borrowing authority sometime from mid-February to early March. Financing for government agencies is set to lapse March 27, and lawmakers must pass new spending or cause a shutdown. Also in March, Congress will confront the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts, half from defense, that were postponed in a Jan. 1 tax deal.

U.S. Recovery

Goldman restated its outlook for lower prices in the second half of this year, a call echoed by Credit Suisse Group AG and Allan Hochreiter(Pty) Ltd., as the U.S. recovers. As growth improves, prices will likely decline even with continued central bank and exchange-traded fund demand, Goldman said.

Gold’s bull market is over, Allan Hochreiter Chief Executive Officer Rene Hochreiter, the top forecaster in the London Bullion Market Association’s 2012 poll, said this month. The metal’s appeal is set to diminish as so-called fear trades fade, according to Credit Suisse’s Tom Kendall, head of precious-metals research and the most accurate precious-metals forecaster in the past eight quarters tracked by Bloomberg.