TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The gold price, which topped $1 600/oz for the first time this month and set another new record on Wednesday, will continue to rise as investors seek out the metal as a haven from risk and central banks increase their buying, top Canadian bullion producers said on Thursday.
“I'm very bullish, I wouldn't be surprised if we got to $1 700/oz by the end of the year,” Goldcorp CEO Chuck Jeannes said in an interview.
Jeannes, who correctly predicted a $1 600/oz price during 2011, said the market has moved faster than he expected.
“Normally we have a bit of a pullback in the price and a slowdown in the summer months, and then it picks back up in August and September and advances based on physical demand from the Indian wedding season and restocking for the holidays."
"Because we haven't even got to that point yet and the price is already very strong, I'm very bullish. I think we are going to have a strong second half of the year."
The gold price reached a new high of $1 628/oz on Wednesday. The price has been pushed up this month amid concerns over a potential US debt default.
Even if there is a resolution to the US debt situation, the safe haven demand for gold should remain strong as the sovereign debt problems in Europe persist, Jeannes said earlier on a conference call.
Seasonal physical demand for the yellow metal will also play a role.
Goldcorp, Canada's second-biggest gold producer and number two in the world by market value, reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of $420-million on Wednesday evening, more than double a year earlier, helped by higher metals prices and increased sales.
Fellow Canadian Barrick Gold, the world's biggest gold miner, followed with its own results on Thursday morning, reporting a 35% profit increase, to $1.2-billion.
Barrick CFO Jamie Sokalsky said on Thursday that the group continues to expect higher gold prices.
Factors supporting prices include sovereign debt concerns, the continuing need for fiscal and monetary inflation due to "disappointing" US economic data, rising inflation in China and India, central bank purchases of gold and constrained mine supply.
"Some may suggest that gold is getting toppish or is in a bubble, but the price is not particularly expensive when compared with other commodities," Sokalsky said.
"Also when you compare the recent gold price trends with known bubbles in the past, like the recent Nasdaq bubble for example, it reveals that gold's upward trend has been much more modest and stable."
Sean Boyd, the CEO of Toronto-based Agnico-Eagle Mines, believes the gold price could rise as high as $1 800/oz before the end of the year, he said in an interview. Boyd also predicted $1 600/oz in 2011, earlier this year.
"In our view it still looks good. This is just an ongoing move away from paper assets into hard assets and that will continue," he said on Thursday.
A resolution to the US debt situation could result in some weakness to the gold price, but it would probably be used as a buying opportunity by investors looking to add to their holdings, Boyd said.
"We could see $1 800 this year, and certainly $2 000 next year is not out of the question, given the ongoing debasement of paper currencies, the debt issues in Europe and the inflationary pressures in China," he told Mining Weekly Online.
"There's a lot of strong local arguments for why big parts of the world would want to buy gold."
Spot gold was trading around $1 613/oz on Thursday afternoon.