Nov. 27th 2005 (Bloomberg) -- Newmont Mining Corp., the world's
largest producer of gold, says the price of the precious metal
may rise to more than $1,000 an ounce in the next five to seven
years as demand growth driven by Asia outstrips global supply.
The gold market "is hot and it is going to get hotter,"
Denver-based Newmont's President Pierre Lassonde said in an
interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp. television today.
"By early next year you are going to see $525 and down the road
even a lot higher than that."
Gold for immediate delivery touched $497.02 on Nov. 25, the
highest intraday price since December 1987, as Japanese
investors bought bullion to hedge against inflation and jewelers
in Asia and Europe stocked up. Lassonde's prediction surpasses a
Merrill Lynch & Co. forecast in July that gold may rise to $725
by 2010 because of rising demand from China.
"When any of these markets get momentum behind them, you
tend to find some pretty outrageous calls," said Mark Pervan,
head of resources research at Daiwa Securities SMBC Australia in
Melbourne. "There's going to be a lot of gold calls made in
this environment, it's similar to the oil market about six
months ago when people" were saying oil may reach $100 a barrel,
Gold may top a record $873 during the next three years
because the U.S. will be unable to check inflation caused by
rapid growth in China and India, William Gary, a publisher of
newsletters with subscribers that include hedge fund Tudor
Investment Corp., forecast last month.
Some investors buy gold to hedge against accelerating
inflation. Gold futures surged to $873 an ounce in 1980, when
U.S. consumer prices rose more than 12 percent from the previous
year. Gold last climbed above $500 an ounce on Dec. 11, 1987.
"Everybody thinks inflation is going to stay at 2 percent,
I don't believe it," said Lassonde. "There has been way too
much money printing in the world for that to happen."
Inflation, excluding food and energy, will probably rise
2.4 percent by the fourth quarter next year from this quarter,
up from a 2.1 percent gain a year earlier, a survey by the
National Association for Business Economics found.
Newmont said Oct. 26 third-quarter profit fell 2.3 percent
to $126 million as output dropped 6.8 percent, eroding the
benefit of rising gold demand and prices.
Worldwide gold production last year had the largest decline
in 39 years, Lassonde said. Demand in India, the world largest
consumer, rose 47 percent last fiscal year, and 14 percent in
China, the world's fastest growing economy, he said.
The decline in output will continue "for at least another
couple of years simply because the industry didn't put money
back into the ground when the gold price was very low,"
Lassonde said. "On the other side demand is just surging
everywhere. It is driven mostly by Asia, China and India."
The price of gold may rise above $500 in the "very near
future," Barrick Gold Corp. Chief Executive Gregory Wilkins
said in an interview in Toronto Nov. 18. Still, Australia & New
Zealand Banking Group Ltd. analyst Craig Ferguson said in an Nov.
22 report that gold may fall as low as $455 in the next three
Gold has rallied from a 20-year low of $253.20 an ounce in
1999 partly because 15 central banks in Europe, including
Germany, agreed to limit their annual bullion sales to 400 tons
through 2004. The banks, under a second agreement that began
last year, increased the annual limit to 500 tons. Central banks,
mainly in the U.S. and Europe, hold almost a fifth of the
world's gold as a reserve asset.
Lassonde's forecast "is an ambitious target considering
that central banks hold a lot of gold and at $1,000 it looks
very attractive to sell," said Daiwa's Pervan.
In 2004, central banks sold 475 tons of gold, contributing
14 percent to global production, which included mine output and
sales of scrap bullion, according to the World Gold Council.
Lassonde said he was undecided if Newmont should make a
takeover bid for Placer Dome Inc., Canada's second-largest gold
producer. Placer is fending off a $8.93 billion hostile takeover
bid from Barrick, the world's third-largest gold miner, and said
last week it's seeking alternative transactions.
"It would be fair to say that we have to at least think
about it but whether or not we are going to do something is far
from evident," he said. Still, "the suite of assets is not
entirely complimentary to what we have at Newmont."
Record High Gold Price in Pounds Sterling (GBP) - May 2006