Gold prices to rise on ongoing global markets volatility
Gold prices to rise on ongoing global markets volatility. Reuters

Gold prices are set to rise further next week as the ongoing global markets volatility is expected to continue supporting the metal in a shortened trading week.

The US markets are closed on 19 January for the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.

Traders and investors will be tracking news out of Frankfurt next week, with the European Central Bank due to announce its monetary policy decision on 22 January.

Some analysts believe the markets have factored a 75% chance that ECB President Mario Draghi will unveil an expanded quantitative easing programme that will include the purchase of sovereign bonds.

What the analysts say

Bill Baruch, senior commodity broker at iiTrader, said the key will be in the details of the programme, which he added will probably disappoint the market's high expectations.

While Baruch did not provide a time-frame, he said that with gold's current momentum, prices should test the next key psychological area of $1,300 an ounce.

Axel Merk, chief investment officer of Merk Investments, said that the uncertainty surrounding Draghi's next move will help gold in the short term.

Merk also said gold should perform well after the ECB meeting, as the focus of the markets will shift to the US Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision, due out at the end of the month.

Baruch told Kitco News: "I think the risk is that the ECB under delivers. It is going to add uncertainty to the marketplace, and gold is going to look attractive.

"The path of least resistance for gold is higher."

Merk told Kitco: "Real interest rates are negative right now and gold will do well in this environment."

Gold jumps

US gold futures for delivery in February finished at $1,276.90 an ounce on 16 January.

Prices shot up $53.90 or 4.41% for the week as a whole, as market volatility post the Swiss National Bank's policy decision boosted the metal's safe-haven status.

Gold prices
Gold picture as of 15 January. Commerzbank C&M

According to Commerzbank Corporates & Markets: "[15 January's] price rally was sparked by the SNB's completely unexpected decision to abandon the EUR-CHF minimum exchange rate of 1.20, which resulted in considerable turmoil on the financial markets and prompted investors to seek a safe haven in gold.

"For over three years, the minimum exchange rate has tied the Swiss franc to the euro. To prevent the franc from appreciating too sharply and thus avoid any undesirable tightening of monetary policy, the SNB simultaneously lowered its target range for the three-month Libor rate to between -1.25%and -0.25%.

"These decisions make it clear that the SNB is losing confidence in the ECB's monetary policy or at least no longer wishes to follow suit."

In a 14 January report, HSBC forecast gold prices to average around $1,234 an ounce this year.

HSBC said: "...the possibility that further USD gains will negatively impact financial markets this year raises the possibility that investors will seek out gold as a safe haven.

"We anticipate tighter gold supply in 2015. This is mostly due to lower scrap supply but also because we believe mine supply, after a decade of increases, is flattening out."