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RBS Cuts 2012 Gold Forecast; Sees PGMs Outperforming

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edlaws   Saturday, 05/05/12 07:16:05 AM
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RBS Cuts 2012 Gold Forecast; Sees PGMs Outperforming

LONDON – Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) Friday reduced its outlook for gold prices this year, the latest in a line of banks to pare back their price expectations on the yellow metal amid expectations of a gradual improvement in macroeconomic conditions.

The bank cut its gold forecast for this year by 1% to $1,725 a troy ounce, noting the metal's "decent but unremarkable price run" so far in 2012.

While RBS sees gold peaking at $1,800/oz in the fourth quarter of this year, it expects gold prices to enter a period of "steady decline" from then onwards.

"As the road-map to a more normal macroeconomic environment is in sight and given gold will still be near its historical highs, we believe that investors will rotate into other asset classes," said RBS analyst Nick Moore.

Several other banks have also reduced their gold forecasts of late, including HSBC PLC (HBS) and the National Bank of Australia.

HSBC cut its 2012 gold price forecast almost 5% less than a week ago to $1,760/oz, citing weak demand from the Indian jewelry sector and lower expectations for further economic stimulus measures in the U.S.

With gold's prominence waning, platinum and palladium should eventually become the outperformers of the precious metal complex, said RBS.

"Our forecasts show that while gold and silver still have merit, the more industrially-driven platinum and palladium could be about to take up the running," said Moore.

While an expected recovery in the European car market next year should give platinum a boost, palladium has the "best fundamentals among the metals," he said.

Although RBS reduced its outlook for palladium prices this year by 9% to $725/oz, it expects the metal's price to trend upwards until 2015, "moving into the four-figure territory in 2013 or 2014" and breaking though its January 2001 all time high of $1,125/oz in 2015.

The bank maintained its 2012 price outlook for platinum at $1,650/oz.

RBS also reduced its 2012 price forecasts for a range of base metals, cutting its aluminum outlook 5% to $2,200 a metric ton, its lead forecast 4% to $2,150/ton, its zinc outlook 2% to $2,050/ton and its nickel forecast 9% to $19,250/ton.

The only metal that received a price upgrade for this year was silver, with RBS upping its 2012 price forecast 3% to $33.00/oz. However, the bank expects silver prices to fall through 2013 to 2015, averaging $20/oz in the second half of 2015.

Copyright © 2012 Dow Jones Newswires

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