December a Poor Performing Month for Gold

Recently, December has been a bad month for gold.

Gold traded in a narrow range around $1691 per ounce Thursday morning in London, rising slightly from yesterday’s 1-month low.

“Over the past 4 years December has traditionally been a poor performing month for gold,” writes Moudi Raad at Swiss refinery group MKS, “averaging a decline of around 8% over that period.”

Since 2008 the New Year has then seen what Raad calls “a solid turnaround, and with central bank buying still on the cards and ETF holdings increasing for a 13th straight session yesterday there is demand out there.”

“There is some heavy selling by fund investors and leveraged money,” agrees Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president for the Americas here at BullionVault, speaking to Reuters. “But physical gold demand should benefit in the long run from the fiscal cliff after these short-term fluctuations.”

“Risks to our [economic] growth outlook remain elevated,” said a widely-reported gold price forecast from investment-bank Goldman Sachs on Wednesday, “especially given the uncertainty around the fiscal cliff.

“[That] makes calling the peak in gold prices a difficult exercise. [But] the gold cycle is likely to turn in 2013,” says Goldman analyst Damien Courvalin, lowering his 12-month forecast to $1800 per ounce.

Looking at the commodities sector more broadly, “Supply-side fundamentals, demand elasticity and idiosyncratic risks will prove increasingly important in driving price action,” counters Hussein Allidina in his 2013 Commodities Outlook for Morgan Stanley. “Under this lens, we favor exposure to gold/silver,” he says, forecasting an average gold price in 2013 of $1853 per ounce.

“Positive US data [on Wednesday] pointed to some improvement in economic growth,” says  Commerzbank, “which did not bode too well for the gold price.”

“Now that the key support level of $1700 an ounce has been breached,” says David Levenstein in his daily note for South Africa’s Rand Refinery, “there is a possibility that technical traders may attempt to push prices lower in the short-term.”

“We’re actually seeing a fairly mysterious seller in the Asian time zone over the last week,” says Jeffrey Rhodes, CEO of INTL Commodities in Dubai, quoted by Emirates 24/7. “We’ve seen some fairly large sell orders hit the market in the thinly-traded twilight zone.”

“Maybe that [push to lower prices] is a prelude to buying gold…Either way, many players are closing their books for the year – they’ve either made what they’ve made for the year, or they’ve lost and don’t want to lose anymore,” according to Rhodes.

By Raphael Thurber

Raphael Thurber is a respected resource writer and editor. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Raphael is a longtime contributor to Yahoo Finance, with an interest in resource and investment journalism that spans over 10 years. As Editor of MiningFeeds, Raphael is responsible for assuring that the site remains a valuable knowledge resource for those in the mining sector.

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