And the 2014 award for the top gold bear goes to…
Predictions for the gold price in 2014 by investment and bullion banks don't vary much in that the vast majority predict a decline this year.
There are bulls – none of them anywhere near raging – like Germany’s Commerzbank and Scotia Mocatta which predict a return to $1,400 an ounce.
Barclays is somewhere in the middle with a move to $1,350 in the first half but for gold to be back to around $1,270 by end-2014. Merrill Lynch sees the opposite price movement with $1,350 hit at the end of the year.
The bear camp includes Goldman Sachs calling for a 15% decline from the November level when the investment bank made the forecast which translates to below $1,100. JP Morgan Cazenove sees gold averaging $1,263 in 2014 which is 10% below last year's average.
But the award for the most bearish forecast comes from Dominic Schnider, head of non-traditional asset classes at Switzerland's UBS Wealth Management.*
Schnider, who gets extra points for the conviction with which he holds his views, said this week "for investors who have gold, it's just going to be an awful year again"and that the metal will fall to $1,050 an ounce in 2014:
"People have been talking about [the Federal Reserve's] taper, but I would really think about rate hikes. If you make a 12-month forecast you need to look into 2015 and rate hikes are on the cards," he said. A rising interest rate environment typically makes owning gold more expensive as it is not an income-producing asset. With the global economic growth and inflation mix looking promising in 2014, the risk-reward balance is now skewed toward risky assets, Schnider added.
Around the 1:30 level in the video below Schnider gives advice for those who despite the dire predictions, still want to hold gold in their portfolio.
Schnider says stay away from the gold mining companies which will come under severe margin pressure, but if you want to have gold as an "asset of last resort" hold the physical through the banks or better still "keep it under your mattress."
*Cannot help but be struck by the fact that UBS classifies gold as a "non-traditional asset" given the fact that the first gold coins were minted in ancient Greece.