The Gold Report: When we talked in November, you warned that there would be downward pressure on gold this year. What are you anticipating for the balance of 2015 and into next year?
Florian Siegfried: We were being cautious in November when we published guidance that indicated gold could trade as low as $1,070 per ounce ($1,070/oz) as a support zone. And that is pretty close to where it is trading right now. But I think that we have to distinguish between the paper price of gold and the physical price, which trades at a premium. For example, the U.S. Mint currently sells gold at around $1,400/oz.
This suggests that there is some tendency toward increasing premiums in the market for physical metal. Where we go by the end of the year is a difficult question because it's always hard to catch the bottom of the market. But a look at the last three or four years gives us some clues. Hedge funds were maximum net long in gold at the peak of 2011, and now they're maximum net short, which could be a good contrarian indicator (see chart above).
It looks as if $1,080/oz could be the bottom. It's not defined yet, but the sentiment is definitely at extremes.
The turn in gold will come from short covering, and the short covering will come when the bearishness really reaches a climax event. Probably we are there, but we will have to wait and see. It is difficult to make a call for year-end because there are so many factors influencing the gold price, and sentiment is extremely negative. The trigger for moving up could come from the bond market, which is in a difficult spot right now. Liquidity is down. Yields and credit spreads are rising. When something goes wrong there, where will the conservative money go to? I don't think it is going to go back into government funds. As investors lose confidence, that could be the trigger for gold. We are probably going to see this in the fall, by September or October. I think the bond market is about to turn around.
The Gold Report: A recent Raymond James research report refers to silver as the "devil's metal" What is the story there?
Chris Thompson: Silver is much more volatile than gold. Typically when we see a weak day for the gold price, silver has a terrible day. Likewise, if we see a strong day for gold, typically silver delivers exceptional performance. Because it's so volatile, we term it the devil's metal.
TGR: If the selloff in precious metal equities is over and this is the bottom, how long do you expect the flat-lining to persist?
CT: At Raymond James, in the near term we see gold trading rangebound between $1,200 per ounce ($1,200/oz) and $1,300/oz and silver trading rangebound between $16.50/oz and $18.50/oz. We are not seeing fundamentals that would prompt a price outside of those respective ranges. We expect current price strength to continue to the end of Q1/15, followed by some weakness into the summer and then more strength toward the end of the year.
Even as investors were re-embracing stocks in 2010 and 2011, they scored really big gains with one of the hottest commodities in the world: Silver.
The precious metal soared in price from under $20 in August 2010 to nearly $50 an ounce by the next spring. In the hindsight, the silver spike was a classic bubble, fueled by inflation concerns that simply never materialized.
Though few people could have guessed that silver would be capable of a 150% nine-month gain, few also would have predicted that the eventual slump in silver would be so extended. Silver prices fell back below $30 an ounce by the start of 2013, and they've been in freefall ever since. A snapback to 2011 peaks is out of the cards.
You can get a sense of just how painful the silver slump has been by glancing at the performance of key exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The leveraged (2-times and 3-times) funds have been among the market's worst performers.
And when it comes to the silver producers themselves, it appears as if sentiment has utterly collapsed. In recent weeks, industry share prices have slumped another 20%-to-30%. In contrast, the pullback in gold prices and shares of gold miners has not been nearly as severe. Continue reading "Why There's Upside To Silver's Four-Year Lows"→