Another Look At Goldman’s Bearish Gold View

Early last year I gave banking behemoth Goldman Sachs (GS) credit for looking in the right direction for clues regarding gold’s likely performance, which is something that most gold bulls were not doing. In November I again gave them credit, because, even though I doubted that the US$ gold price would get close to GS’s $1050/oz price target for 2014, their overall analysis had been more right than wrong. It was clear that up to that point the US economy had performed better than I had expected and roughly in line with the GS forecast, which was the main reason that gold had remained under pressure; albeit, not as much pressure as GS had anticipated.

But this year it was a different story. Here’s what I wrote in a TSI commentary in January-2015:

This year, GS’s gold market analysis begins on the right track by stating that stronger US growth should support higher real US interest rates, which would be bearish for gold. Although we expect that the US economy will ‘tread water’ at best and that real US interest rates will be flat-to-lower over the course of this year, GS’s logic is correct. What we mean is that IF the US economy strengthens and IF real US interest rates trend upward in response, there will be irresistible downward pressure on the US$ gold price.

However, the analysis then goes off the rails. After mentioning something that matters (the real interest rate), the authors of the GS gold-market analysis then try to support their bearish case by listing factors that are either irrelevant or wrong. It actually seems as if they’ve taken the worst arguments routinely put forward by gold bulls and tried to use the same hopelessly flawed logic to support a bearish forecast.

For example, they argue that the demand for gold will fall because “inflation” levels are declining along with oil prices. They are therefore unaware, it seems, that “price inflation” has never been an important driver of the gold market and that the latest two multi-year gold rallies began with both “inflation” and inflation expectations low and in declining trends. They also appear to be unaware that the large decline in the oil price is very bullish for the gold-mining industry.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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