Gold rally gets upstaged as precious metals rise in slipstream

By Justina Vasquez

Gold’s rally has grabbed a lot of investor attention, but other precious metals are making a strong bid to take the spotlight.

Gold rose 19 per cent this year through mid-August, the most among the main precious metals, on prospects for lower interest rates and demand for a refuge from slowing economic growth.

Now, investors looking for cheaper entry into havens have helped widen the rally to silver and platinum, which surged the past few weeks to approach or surpass gold’s 2019 gains. Palladium has also rebounded.

“For the investors that have been nervous for a while and really loaded up on gold, it’s more of, ‘I’ve reached my max comfort level on gold, lets see what else I can add to it that might be more attractive from the value standpoint,’” Austin Pickle, investment strategy analyst at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said by phone. “For investors looking for precious-metals exposure, we still prefer silver and platinum over gold.”

The following charts examine the case for a sustained rally across precious metals.

Portents in Proportions
While gold’s rally has stalled this month, banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BNP Paribas SA recently boosted their price forecasts. With gold prices still well above historical averages compared with silver and platinum, gains in gold could mean further increases for the other metals as well.


Even with silver surging more than 4 per cent since mid-August while gold slipped, an ounce of gold still buys about 83 ounces of silver, topping the average of 67 ounces over the past decade.


It’s a similar story for platinum, where an ounce of the pricier metal buys 1.58 ounces, compared with a 10-year average of 1.11. Platinum, commonly used in auto-pollution controls, has jumped 13 per cent since mid-August. It had struggled to get investors’ attention as diesel-vehicle sales decline and manufacturing slumps amid the US-China trade war.

“Gold in US dollar terms is at six-year highs,” Wells Fargo’s Pickle said on Thursday. “There’s so much more room for people to say this still looks attractive in absolute terms and it’s super attractive versus gold,” he said, referring to silver and platinum.

Generating Interest

BNP Paribas raised its gold-price forecast amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut US interest rates four times by mid-2020. With global economies at risk of tipping into recession, the analysts expect central banks in both developed and emerging markets will leave rates low or cut them further. Silver and platinum would benefit from that as well: precious metals don’t offer a yield, so low rates make them more competitive against assets that offer interest.


“What has happened over last year is rates have become more important as they became more of a focus for the market,” Chris Louney, vice president of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said by phone. Such low rates pushed negative-yielding debt to about $ 17 trillion globally at the end of August, brightening the appeal of precious metals.