After cratering, gold set to rise

Gold is poised to become an attractive investment after last year's 16% plunge, with prices possibly breaking US$1,300 an ounce in the first quarter.

Jaronvet Saksri, vice-president for investment consulting at Ausiris Futures, says gold will perform better this year after absorbing negative factors in 2013.

The US Federal Reserve last year made noises about scaling down its quantitative easing programme, prompting investors to shift from hard assets like gold to chase dollar assets.

The swing caused a nosedive in gold prices.

"The gold price last year bottomed out already, hence from now it should return to an uptrend more or less," said Mr Jaronvet.

In addition, demand for jewellery has risen in the new year, driving gold prices higher.

Mr Jaronvet anticipates gold prices breaking through a strong resistance level at $1,180 an ounce and maybe testing $1,300 in the first quarter.

Tanawat Roongtanapirom, a fund manager at Kasikorn Asset Management, shares a similar view. K-Asset is the only local asset management firm to recommend gold since the end of 2013.

Mr Tanawat said gold has the potential to move in a range of $1,250 to $1,450 an ounce this year.

"Gold corrected 16% last year from a record high to a bottom in such a short period," he said. "It reminded us of the 1976 incident when gold had a hard correction, bottomed out, then began trading in a rising trend."

He said the fundamentals of gold are naturally strong due to scarce supply and difficulty in finding new resources.

But Mr Tanawat warns that gold prices correlate negatively with stock prices.

For instance, gold rose sharply in recent years on gloomy sentiment in the world economy; but once the big economies recovered, investors moved from gold to stocks and money markets.

"The factor that would sustain the gold price's rising trend is whether investors will move their funds from other assets to gold as happened in years past," said Mr Tanawat.

Kritcharat Hirunyasiri, president of MTS Gold Futures, views the upcoming Chinese New Year as a time of rising gold demand, but he is unsure how long the trend will last.

"In the medium term, the gold price should stand above $1,275 an ounce for at least 45 days in terms of technicals," he said.

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