2018 Gold Price Forecast, Trends, & 5 Year Predictions

Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst 
FEB 2, 2018

Most price forecasts aren’t worth more than an umbrella in a hurricane. There are so many factors, so many ever-changing variables and dynamics, that even the most educated guess almost always ends up wrong.

Further, some forecasts base their predictions on one issue. “Interest rates will rise so gold will fall.” That’s not even an accurate statement, let alone a sensible prediction (it’s the real rate that affects gold prices—the rate minus inflation).

So instead, my gold price forecast for 2018 will look at the primary factors that impact the gold market to determine if each is likely to push the price higher or lower this year. I’ll conclude with the probable prices I see based on those factors, as well as some long-term projections, although what follows is merely a scratch on the surface of this topic. To learn more about investing in gold and silver and what factors drive the market, we suggest you read Mike Maloney's best-selling book, Guide to Investing in Gold & Silver.

 

The primary factors I think will impact the price of gold this year are:

  • The US Dollar
  • Demand for Physical Gold
  • Demand for Gold ETFs
  • Central Bank Buying
  • Activity of Commercial Speculator
  • Trading Volumes on the COMEX
  • Technical Indicators
  • New Mine Supply
  • Coming Economic and Monetary Factors

This will be fun, so let’s jump in.

The US Dollar

The US dollar fell 10.5% last year, a significant decline for a currency and its biggest drop since 2003. 

The factors that weighed on the dollar last year are expected to exert similar pressure again this year. The biggest factor is perhaps the Trump administration blatantly stating it wants a weak dollar, primarily to support US trade.

You probably know that generally speaking, the US dollar is inversely correlated to gold, so if the dollar falls this year, as I expect, then the gold price will…

If the US Dollar Falls, Gold May Rise

Demand for Physical Gold

Demand for coins and bars was near an all-time low last year. But the last time that happened it preceded a fury for demand for metal, with the complacency peaking just before the 2008 financial crisis.

Chart: Sales of American Gold Eagles over time

With bullion sales at multi-year lows, it is much more likely demand rises this year than falls.

Physical demand does not always push the price higher, but it does support interest in gold, and the greater the interest, the more likely gold is to…

If demand for physical gold increases, the price of gold should increase

Demand for Gold ETFs

Gold-backed ETF holdings are now at their highest level since 2013. 

Check out the increase in holdings from the top 10 gold ETFs in the world last year.

Chart: Gold ETF holdings are increasing

This interest is likely to remain high this year, because the reasons these investors bought gold—to hedge against overvalued markets and insure against the increasing possibility of a crisis—haven’t materialized yet. Continued ETF demand is likely to push the price of gold…

If Demand for Gold ETFs increases, the price of gold may also increase

Central Bank Buying

Central banks around the world hold gold in their reserves. If they think they need more, they buy more. Look what’s happened since holdings bottomed in 2007:

Chart: Central Bank Holdings of Physical Gold over time

Global central banks have been buying gold at an accelerated pace for the past 10 years. Based on their recent activity, there is no reason to believe they will stop. Their continued accumulation is a source of support for the gold price. 

Ongoing central bank buying = a gold price that is likely to...

If Central Banks hold more gold, the gold price should increase in 2018

Activity of Commercial Speculators 

Our friend Nick Laird at Goldchartsrus.com tracks the “Commitment of Traders” report, which consists of the net trading positions of commercial, non-commercial, and non-reportable traders. Here’s the 3-year view:

Chart: Commitment of Traders on commercial, non-commercial, and non-reportable gold traders

There has been a tug of war between these entities, though you can see open interest is generally higher now than it was three years ago, which corresponds to the rising price during that time period. This data usually isn’t predictive except at extreme readings.

As of January 24, this factor provides no clear indication of what gold will do this year.

Trading Volumes on the COMEX

Meanwhile, gold-trading volumes on the COMEX have never been higher:

Traders at the world’s largest futures market are buying more gold contracts than they’re selling, a staunchly bullish indicator. There’s no indication heightened activity at the COMEX will stop, and if so the gold price will…

If trading volumes continue to rise, we predict the gold price will increase

Technical Indicators

While most mainstream investors are ignoring gold, the technical picture shows the price is coiling, which implies a big move is on the way.

Our friend Dominick Graziano has amassed a seven-figure brokerage account from his technical trading. His recent monthly chart is eye-opening, and note his comments.

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The trading range of the gold price continues to squeeze tighter and tighter on a monthly basis, a technical sign that implies a breakout is coming. 

You can also see that the ADX (Average Directional Index) indicator shows gold is building energy. The longer this consolidation goes on, and the greater the buildup in energy, the bigger the breakout will be. Dominick says that “long-term consolidations are the most powerful when they finally break out.”

The technical picture doesn’t tell us when this breakout will occur, but as he says a new all-time high could be in the cards if gold breaks to the upside.

The technical outlook for 2018 says the gold price is more than likely to…

If the technical indicators continue on current trends, gold price should go up in 2018

New Mine Supply

Almost all mining analysts, including yours truly, have been sounding the alarm about the impending reversal in new gold supply from mine production. Some reports say it will peak this year, some say next year, a couple say it already has.

But regardless of the timing, the reality is that new mine supply is about to reverse and begin a long-term decline. And the biggest portion of coin and bar sales each year come from new mine supply.

If demand stays at current levels or rises, and new supply begins to fall, the gold price will respond to this basic supply/demand equation and…

If demand remains consistent and supply falls, the price of gold should increase in 2018

Coming Economic and Monetary Factors

All of the above reasons are fine and good, but one of the primary reasons we’re overweight gold and silver at this point in history is because of the numerous elevated risks that are present. Mike discussed his Top 10 Reasons I Buy Gold and Silver, which all point to a period that he believes will, sooner or later, propel gold higher.

It is this big-picture backdrop for gold that tells us why investors should hold physical bullion at this time and why the price will ultimately end up much higher than it is now.

Here are a couple of these catalysts that could impact the gold price in 2018:

Asset Bubbles: The bull market in stocks may or may not continue in 2018, but no trend lasts forever. And given how far the stock market has come, it’s only prudent to be wary of its bubbly valuation.

If the Dow tanks or cryptos crater or bond yields soar or real estate reverses, the resulting fear will push gold…

If the stock market crashes in 2018, we predit the gold price will soar

As the World Gold Council reports, “Should global financial markets correct, investors could benefit from having an exposure to gold as it has historically reduced losses during periods of financial distress.”

Even the conservative World Bank issued a warning in their January report: “Financial markets are vulnerable to unforeseen negative news. They appear to be complacent.” 

If investors are caught off guard, the fall in financial markets could be bigger than average and quickly push investors into gold. And since gold is inversely correlated to most major asset classes, it is more likely to rise when stock markets crash.

Inflation: Off the radar to the average Joe is the possibility that inflation kicks in this year. Check out what’s been reported in the past 30 days.

  • Barron’s: “We expect to see inflation go up in 2018 across developed markets relative to where it is today with the United States leading the way.”

  • Kiplinger: “Inflation will rise this year.”

  • PIMCO: “Global inflation is likely to rise in 2018.”

  • World Bank: “There could be faster than expected inflation…”

  • And The Wall Street Journal reported in mid-January that “Investors Prepare for Inflation.”

This one is rather obvious: if inflation rises this year, especially more than expected, then gold will:

If inflation increases in 2018, the gold price will increase accordingly

What Could Push Gold Down

The primary things that could weigh on gold would be the stock market continuing to soar or interest rates rising more than expected, with no increase in inflation. If those things happen and the other catalysts are subdued, then gold is likely to:

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My 2018 Gold Forecast

You can see that in my view most of the factors that impact gold are expected to push the price higher this year.

Add it all up and my 2018 gold price forecast is:

  • Minimum High: $1,420

  • Potential High With No Crisis: $1,500 to $1,600

  • Potential High With Major Crisis: $2,000 (new all-time high)

  • Likelihood the $1,050 Low (12-17-15) for This Cycle Is in: 80%

  • Likelihood Gold Is Also Higher in 2019: 90%

  • Potential 5-Year High: $3,000 to $10,000

The message from this analysis is that even if gold rises only modestly this year, it has rarely been more important to own.

The strategy is clear: 2018 is likely to be the last year to buy gold and silver at current levels, so dips in price should be bought.