2011-06-14

At $1,515 per ounce, the gold price traded virtually flat Monday morning

Gold followed a similar path, opening fractionally lower near $1,530, and later hitting an intra-day low of $1,511.40 before bouncing back to $1,515 per ounce. One of the catalysts for the slide in the gold price last week was a speech by Fed Chairman Bernanke. Although Dr. Bernanke expressed uneasiness over the “slow” pace of the economic recovery, he provided no signals that the Fed may implement a third round of quantitative easing, QE3. With markets addicted to monetary and fiscal stimulus, Bernanke’s unwillingness to offer a new dose of medicine to the ailing economy provided investors an excuse to sell assets of an any and all ilk, including gold.

Following Bernanke’s speech, several well respected investors and strategists– including Mohamed El-Erian at PIMCO, David Tepper of Appaloosa Management, and Jan Hatzius at Goldman Sachs – each contended that it is quite unlikely the Fed will launch QE3 in the near future. However, each acknowledged that QE3 remains a distinct possibility over the longer-term in the event that the economy worsens significantly and/or financial markets suffer steep losses.

In light of Bernanke’s comments on Friday UBS lowered its short-term gold price forecast to $1,475 from $1,500 per ounce. The firm cited the conclusion of QE2 and a seasonal slowdown as the primary factors behind its reduced estimate.

Despite its cautious near-term outlook on the price of gold, UBS raised its longer-term gold price target to $1,600 from $1,400 per ounce. “We have said for some time that we believe gold has already seen its lows for 2011,” the firm wrote in a report to clients. “This is even truer in the current macroeconomic environment.”

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