Benchmark Gold Rate Can Surge Past $2,300/Ounce In 2021: Analysts

Domestic spot gold climbed up around 28% in 2020.
Domestic spot gold climbed up around 28% in 2020.

Gold has eased more than 9 per cent from all-time highs registered in late 2020, hurt by optimism around the development of COVID-19 vaccines which takes away the safe-haven appeal of the yellow metal. In August last year, domestic gold futures had surged to a life-time high of Rs 57,100 per 10 grams. Still, many analysts expect the precious metal to be headed for higher levels in 2021. Why? Easy monetary policies in major economies weighing on currencies along with rising global debt is likely to continue to support gold rates going forward, they say.

Currently hovering near the $1,950 mark, the Comex gold is 7 per cent away from its lifetime high of $2,099.20 per ounce. Domestic gold rates are derived by the global benchmarks by taking into account currency changes.  

Since the record peak in the MCX futures registered last year, the rupee has appreciated around 2.4 per cent against the US dollar, having recovered to early 73 figures compared to near-75 levels.   

Analysts say the global benchmark is poised to touch $2,300-2,350 per ounce levels this year.

"Evaluating the broad fundamentals, gold is likely to maintain its charm as macroeconomic factors seem supportive for the metal... The over-bloated global debt coupled with a low-interest rate environment will provide a cushion to the safe-haven asset — gold," New Delhi-based financial services company Religare Broking said in its outlook for 2021.

For the year 2021, domestic gold prices can approach the Rs 65,000 per 10 grams, the brokerage said in its outlook. 

"The gold shining story is here to stay for 2021", with demand for gold as a safe-haven asset expected to persist until the global economy is back on a solid recovery path, it added. 

"Due to the damage caused by the pandemic, economies are likely to struggle going ahead. The number of coronavirus cases is still rising in the US and European nations. Though recent positive developments on the Covid-19 vaccine have given a ray of hope but concerns such as storage, post-vaccination effects and reachability to masses remain unclear... ," according to Religare. 

Some analysts say gold was already in a broader rise even before the coronavirus outbreak.

According to Ravindra Rao, VP-head commodity research at Kotak Securities, a structural bull run in the yellow metal is on cards "with every corrective dip remerging as a buying opportunity... Going ahead, we expect investment demand to dominate from a  portfolio diversification perspective as compared to physical demand."

Asked where does he expect gold rates by the end of the new year, Mr Rao told NDTV: "Well, we would like to take small steps rather than a year-long view, as uncertainty is a very high." He expects the Comex benchmark to first reach $2,050-2,070 per ounce levels "maybe in the first quarter".

"Once the price sustains above that the next upside target might be $2,250-2,300/oz," he adds.

Domestic spot gold climbed up around 28 per cent in 2020.

"Bond yields are not likely to improve in the near future. The lockdown has created a sort of fear factor in the minds of people and gold is the only commodity which the common man was able to borrow against or was able to encash during lockdown," said Surendra Mehta, national secretary of Mumbai-based India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), an industry body. 

Here's how the rates changed during this period (price in rupees per 10 grams excluding GST): 

(Source: IBJA) 

"We may get a vaccine for coronavirus but where is vaccine for quick economic recovery? Gold prices can touch the $2,350/ounce mark in the international market, equivalent to almost Rs 60,500 in the domestic market," Mr Mehta added.