'Forgotten' metals may take off

WHILE macroeconomic pointers show gold could climb strongly later in the year, Saxo Bank’s head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen says silver and platinum could give investors bigger gains.
'Forgotten' metals may take off 'Forgotten' metals may take off 'Forgotten' metals may take off 'Forgotten' metals may take off 'Forgotten' metals may take off

It takes over 80 silver ounces to buy one gold ounce at the moment, which Hansen says shows a price rise is coming

Platinum has been unpopular in recent years as jewellery, investment and automotive demand have fallen.

It is currently at US$856 per ounce, and has fallen firmly behind palladium, which has spent the past month at over $1500/oz.  

Hansen said platinum would come up again.

"If you all have a bullish view on precious metals, then platinum given its historical discount to gold and especially to palladium, should benefit from that demand, and I think we saw some initial signs of it last month," he told MNN.  

Hansen said last month's peak of $874/oz was likely a short-covering rally.

However, Reuters has reported a strong jump in ETF buying this year, with a 350,000 ounces (or 16%) increase in holdings since December, showing interest is increasing.

Platinum's precarious position was made clear in a February report by Minerals Council South Africa, which said long-term demand could be boosted by encouraging take-up of hydrogen cars in place of the electric vehicles currently dominating forecasts and pushing central banks to adopt platinum as a reserve currency.

Hansen has a target of $925/oz for platinum, although signs of more substitution of palladium would boost it further, as would a gold spike.

"What could change [the forecast] completely, and make it a much bigger bullish case, that is if gold at some stage manages to break above $1380/oz," he said.

"If it does, gold could have another $100 to the upside, because then we're taking out this multi-year channel we've been banging around in since 2016. A break above $1380 and you'd say all bets are off in the metals, because gold, platinum, silver will all enjoy quite a big move to the upside."

The World Platinum Investment Council forecasts a platinum oversupply of 680,000oz this year. 

For silver, Hansen said it was running at a ratio of over 80:1, indicating a comparatively cheap buy-in currently. 

"That [ratio] is a historical high, and it does reflect some of the demand we're seeing in gold," he said.

Silver is currently around $15.50/oz and gold around $1320/oz.

In a note this week, Hansen said this was around 12% below silver's five-year average relative to gold.

The gold bullishness comes from a dovish move by the US Federal Reserve last week, when it said there would be no more rate rises this year.

Hansen said there was a higher chance of a recession in the US despite its high employment numbers and strong market performance recently.

"The dramatic turnaround seen during the past few months by the Fed is seen as bullish for gold as the return to a dovish stance highlights the risk of a gold-supportive recession within the next 12 months," he said.