LONDON (Reuters) – Precious metals analysts expect gold prices to rise for a 12th year in a row and to reach a record high in 2012, but are less optimistic for silver and platinum, according to a survey by the London Bullion Market Association.
The LBMA’s survey of 26 contributors showed all but 3 participants expected gold to hit an all-time high in 2012, with a majority of 19 of them forecasting gold to reach a high above $2,000 an ounce.
They also forecast gold to average $1,766.00 an ounce this year, compared with an average of $1,572.00 in 2011, the survey showed.
The gold price rose to a record $1,920.30 an ounce in September and gained 10 percent in price in an 11th consecutive year of gains in 2011.
Ruth Crowell, LBMA commercial director, said in a note that participants expected prices for all four metals to pick up from their current levels.
“However, if we compare the average 2012 forecasts with actual average prices in 2011, we can see that analysts are less bullish about the prospects for precious metals during the next 12 months,” she said.
“Whilst analysts predict a similar rise in the price of gold (12.3 percent) and for the price of palladium to remain broadly unchanged (up 0.3 percent), they are forecasting a fall in the price of both silver (-3.2 percent) and platinum (-5.6 percent).”
Fear among investors over the debasement of so-called fiat currencies such as the dollar, the euro or the Swiss franc, together with the euro zone debt crisis and the bullish impact of ongoing central bank buying were major drivers for gold.
Palladium is expected to gain modestly this year, forecast to average $735.52 an ounce in 2012, compared with an average price of $733.63.
The metal, mostly used in catalytic converters in gasoline-powered vehicles, is expected to see solid demand from emerging economy auto markets such as China, but risks disinvestment from exchange-traded funds backed by palladium and modest supply from Russian government surplus stockpiles, UK refiner Johnson Matthey said in November 2011.
Silver is expected to struggle this year, according to the survey. Participants told the LBMA they expected silver to average $33.98 an ounce in 2012, compared with an average price of $35.11 last year.
According to the LBMA’s survey, platinum has the least optimistic outlook in terms of price, which is expected to average $1,624.00 an ounce in 2012, compared with $1,720.00 in 2011.
The LBMA said it would publish the full results of its survey and comments from participants on its website in mid-January.
(Additional reporting by Frank Tang in New York; Editing by Alden Bentley)