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New Highs Propel Gold into 2024

15 January 2024

Read Time 4 MIN

Spot gold climbs to a record high in 2023; the main drivers behind last year’s gold rally should continue to support gold in 2024.

Look who’s made new all-time highs…

Some market participants look at closing prices, others prefer to look at intraday prices for more detailed price action. No matter how you slice it, spot gold prices set new highs in 2023. Gold recorded a new intraday, all-time high of $2,135/oz in early December during overseas trading hours. Gold also managed to establish a new at-the-close all-time high of $2,077/oz on 27 December, and ended 2023 at $2,063/oz, up 13.1% for the year.

Gold equities ended the year strong as well, outperforming gold bullion in the last two months of the year. However, gold equity has yet to fully close the valuation gap against the metal. In 2023, NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index (GDMNTR)1 and MVIS Global Juniors Gold Miners Index (MVGDXJTR)2 were up 10.60% and 8.59%, respectively, compared to gold’s 13.10% gain.

Recapping key drivers

The main drivers behind gold’s rally to new all-time highs were:

  • Heightened global financial risk – gold closed at a yearly low of $1,811/oz at the end of February, bouncing back and trending above $2,000/oz as markets tried to digest the news and assess the ripple effects of the rapid collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank over the course of a weekend in March. Gold found further support as the risks spread to Europe, with major bank Credit Suisse ultimately needing a rescue.
  • Record central bank net gold purchases – investment demand, as gauged by the holdings of gold bullion ETFs, persistently declined in the second half of the year. However, this was offset by strong buying from the official sector, with gold purchases from central banks around the world potentially set to beat the record levels reported for 2022. This kept gold well supported above the $1,900/oz level throughout most of the year, leading to highest annual average gold price in record of $1,943/oz in 2023.
  • Heightened geopolitical risk globally – most notably, as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the tragic developments in the Middle East in early October. Gold closed at $1,820/oz on 5 October, and demonstrated, once again, its historically proven role as a safe haven, climbing above $2,000/oz after Hamas’ attacks on Israel.
  • Federal reserve policy – changing expectations around the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) monetary policy path were a major driver of gold prices in 2023. The Fed’s projections for rate cuts in 2024, released at the conclusion of their 13 December Federal Open Market Committee meeting, sent gold prices to record levels at year end.

Gold seems to have established strong support at around the $1,900 to $2,000/oz level, and at present, we see real opportunity for it to test new all-time highs this year. The four main drivers highlighted above should continue to support gold in 2024. More significantly, increasing western investment demand as a result of a rising need to hedge portfolios this year could once again become a dominant and positive driver of gold prices.

Slowing outflows in gold-backed ETFs

Slowing outflows in gold-backed ETFs

Source: World Gold Council. Data as of December 2023.

Making a case for miners

It is important that investors consider not just gold bullion but also gold equities when they look at gold as an asset class. We think gold miners are favorably positioned to benefit from sustained, record-high gold prices as investors seek leveraged, diversified exposure to gold. Gold prices will clearly continue to have a meaningful impact on the performance of the gold equities, with a rising gold price environment providing opportunity for gold equities to outperform the metal.

A declining gold price, in contrast, would typically lead to weak share price performance by the miners relative to gold. We view gold equities, at present, as generally undervalued, trading at low multiples both historically for the industry and relative to gold. We believe this valuation gap provides an opportunity for gold equities to outperform gold even in a sideways gold price environment, especially if that price action develops around the $2,000/oz level.

Industry cost inflation has mostly subsided, and operating costs appear to be contained, with all-in sustaining costs on average at around $1,300/oz. While we reiterate our outlook for higher gold prices in 2024, we want to highlight that at current spot gold prices of around $2,040/oz, gold miners, as a group, should be able to enjoy margin expansion and enhanced free cash flow generation this year.

We expect gold companies to have the ability to produce solid operating and financial results that can withstand the volatility of the gold price and demonstrate that they can sustainably operate profitable businesses throughout the cycles. We believe consistently proving this resilience to the markets should lead to increased incorporation of gold equities as an asset class in the broader investment universe, and lead to a rerating of the gold mining sector.

Important Disclosures

1 NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index is a service mark of ICE Data Indices, LLC or its affiliates (“ICE Data”) and has been licensed for use by VanEck UCITS ETF plc. (the “Fund”) in connection with VanEck Gold Miners UCITS ETF (the “Sub-Fund”). Neither the Fund nor the Sub-Fund is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by ICE Data. ICE Data makes no representations or warranties regarding the Fund or the Sub-Fund or the ability of the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index to track general stock market performance. ICE DATA MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE WITH RESPECT TO THE NYSE ARCA GOLD MINERS INDEX OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. IN NO EVENT SHALL ICE DATA HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. ICE Data Indices, LLC and its affiliates (“ICE Data”) indices and related information, the name "ICE Data", and related trademarks, are intellectual property licensed from ICE Data, and may not be copied, used, or distributed without ICE Data's prior written approval. The Fund have not been passed on as to its legality or suitability, and is not regulated, issued, endorsed, sold, guaranteed, or promoted by ICE Data.

2 MVIS®️ Global Junior Gold Miners Index is the exclusive property of MarketVector Indexes GmbH (a wholly owned subsidiary of Van Eck Associates Corporation), which has contracted with Solactive AG to maintain and calculate the Index. Solactive AG uses its best efforts to ensure that the Index is calculated correctly. Irrespective of its obligations towards MarketVector Indexes GmbH (“MarketVector”), Solactive AG has no obligation to point out errors in the Index to third parties. The VanEck Junior Gold Miners UCITS ETF is not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by MarketVector and MarketVector makes no representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Fund.

Important Disclosure

This is a marketing communication. Please refer to the prospectus of the UCITS and to the KID before making any final investment decisions.

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