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FACTBOX-Fresh precious metals price forecasts
Dec 16 (Reuters) - Gold hit a record $1,226.10 an ounce on Dec. 3, as prices were boosted by speculation that more central banks will diversify their foreign exchange reserves into bullion, and by weakness in the dollar.
They have since pulled back to just below $1,110 an ounce as the dollar strengthened in response to better than expected U.S. economic data, but analysts said the underlying bull trend was intact.
Silver, platinum and palladium and the minor precious metals rhodium and ruthenium have all been lifted by strength in gold. A recovery in industrial production is likely to be needed to spark major gains in the industrial precious metals.
Below are forecasts for gold XAU=, silver XAG=, platinum XPT= and palladium XPD= prices from major market watchers.
BNP PARIBAS (DEC 15)
* BNP Paribas raised its platinum price forecast for 2009 by 5 percent to $1,200 an ounce from $1,140 an ounce earlier, and its price view for 2010 to $1,410 an ounce from $1,350.
* In the first quarter of 2010 it sees platinum at $1,450 an ounce, up from a previous forecast of $1,250. It revised its second-quarter price view up to $1,375 an ounce from $1,230.
* "We expect platinum to remain supported by investment and jewellery demand in 2010. Industrial and notably auto catalyst demand, while recovering in 2010 on the back of restocking, are unlikely to revert back to pre-crisis levels," the bank said.
* "Platinum output remains severely constrained, with further contractions in supply in South Africa in 2009, though we expect growth to resume in 2010."
HSBC (DEC 8)
* HSBC lifted its average gold price forecast to $990 an ounce for 2009 from a previous view of $925, and its 2010 view to $1,150 an ounce from $950. In 2011 it now sees gold at an average $975 an ounce, against a previous forecast of $825.
* The bank raised its silver price view to $14.80 an ounce this year from $12.50 previously, and said it sees the metal at $17.00 an ounce in 2010, against a previous forecast of $14.00. Next year it sees silver at $15.00 an ounce.
* In 2009 the bank sees platinum at $1,210 an ounce and palladium at $265, against previous price views of $1,175 and $225, respectively. Next year it sees platinum at $1,600 an ounce and palladium at $400 an ounce.
* "The combination of inflation and currency hedge buying are key factors driving gold prices," the bank said.
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK (DEC 7)
* National Australia Bank expects gold prices to average $1,100 an ounce in the quarter to December, rising to $1,149 in the first quarter of next year and $1,174 in the second quarter.
* In the third quarter, it expects gold to average $1,204 an ounce, climbing to $1,234 an ounce in the last quarter of 2010.
* "Investor interest continues to support gold demand, while jewellery consumption remains very weak," said the bank. "Gold prices are expected to remain well supported before trending higher with a rebound in jewellery consumption over 2010."
BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH (DEC 4)
* Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees gold at $960 an ounce in 2009 as a whole, rising to $1,110 in 2010. It sees silver at $14.65 an ounce this year, climbing to $17.60 next year.
* The bank predicts platinum prices will average $1,195 and palladium $258 an ounce in 2009. In 2010, it sees platinum at $1,440 and palladium at $370 an ounce.
* "While production increases will be capped, platinum demand is set to rebound next year," the bank said. "Altogether, the scope for a large platinum surplus is limited."
GOLDMAN SACHS (DEC 3)
* Goldman Sachs said it sees gold at an average $1,265 an ounce in 2010 and $1,425 in 2011. It raised its gold price forecasts to $1,200 an ounce, $1,260 an ounce and $1,350 an ounce on a 3-, 6-, and 12-month horizon respectively.
* "With the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to keep its short-term nominal interest rate target near zero through 2011, we expect the low U.S. real interest rate environment to continue to provide strong support for gold prices in 2010 and 2011," it said.
* "However, as we also expect U.S. inflation to remain subdued, we expect gold prices to come under significant downward pressure once the US economic recovery strengthens and the US Federal Reserve begins to raise interest rates," it added.
CANACCORD ADAMS (DEC 3)
* Canaccord Adams said it was positive on the outlook for gold and gold equities, and has raised its near-term peak gold price scenario for equity target price setting to $1,300 an ounce from $1,100 an ounce previously.
* "We believe macro-economic conditions remain supportive for gold and see the outcome of global financial stimulus efforts as broad currency devaluation, inflation, and gold's increased status as a reserve and investment asset," it said.
NATIXIS (NOV 25)
* Natixis said it expected to see gold prices at $1,150 an ounce in the remainder of 2009, falling to $950 in 2010.
* "If gold prices do move significantly higher next year, we would expect this to be caused by a substantial rise in G10 sovereign CDS levels, perhaps associated with further developing country central bank diversification away from dollars toward gold," the bank said in a note.
* "On the other hand, we would not be at all surprised to see gold prices fall alongside a spike in inflation, especially if the world economy returned to some degree of normality next year, thereby allowing supply and demand fundamentals to take centre stage once again," it added.
STANDARD CHARTERED (NOV 23)
* Standard Chartered expects gold prices to average $1,100 an ounce in the fourth quarter and $973 an ounce in 2009 as a whole. Next year it expects prices to average $1,150 an ounce.
* "Investor interest in the market remains strong," it said. "This has shown up most visibly within the Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. This showed that speculative net long positions for gold rose to a record high 253,955 contracts in mid-October."
* The bank sees silver at $18.00 an ounce in the fourth quarter, platinum at $1,420 and palladium at $360. For the year as a whole it sees silver at $14.80, platinum at $1,214 and palladium at $267.
COMMERZBANK (NOV 9)
* Commerzbank sees gold at an average $1,050 an ounce in the fourth quarter, rising to $1,100 an ounce in Q1 2010 and then declining to $1,000 an ounce in the second quarter of next year.
* It expects silver to average $17.50 an ounce, $18 an ounce and $16 an ounce in the same periods, and sees platinum at $1,300 an ounce in the fourth quarter, $1,200 an ounce in Q1 next year and $1,400 an ounce in the second quarter.
* "The gold purchase by India's central bank confirms that the new economic powers, in particular, use gold for the diversification of their currency reserves," it said in a note.
* "We think the current high price level is well supported and have therefore raised our gold price projection for the first quarter 2010 to $1,100 per ounce," it added.
"However, we do not see significant potential for a price increase beyond this level, as the U.S. dollar is expected to appreciate."
BARCLAYS CAPITAL (OCT 29)
* Barclays Capital sees gold averaging $1,035 an ounce in the fourth quarter of 2009, rising to $1,070 in the first quarter of 2010 and $1,140 in the second quarter.
* It expects to see silver at an average $16.80 an ounce this quarter, dipping to $16.50 in the first three months of next year. In the same periods, it sees platinum at an average $1,325 and $1,340 an ounce, and palladium at $320 and $325.
DEUTSCHE BANK (OCT 23)
* Deutsche Bank said in a note on October 23 that it expects gold prices to average $1,050 an ounce in the fourth quarter, up 10 percent from its previous forecast, and sees the precious metal rising to $1,125 an ounce in the first quarter of 2010.
"We expect gold prices will hit new highs, particularly given the tendency for the U.S. dollar to display seasonal weakness in the last four weeks of the year," the bank said.
* It also lifted its silver price forecasts more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter to $17.70 an ounce, and by more than 20 percent for the first quarter of 2010 to $18.90.
* It lifted its 2010 gold forecast by more than 30 percent to $1,150 an ounce, and its silver forecast for next year to $20.03 an ounce. It sees platinum at $1,394 in 2010 and palladium at $321.
(Compiled by Jan Harvey; editing by William Hardy)
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