Gold, silver set for more pain into 2016 - poll

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices are expected to post another year of losses in 2016, with more pain still in store for the precious metal this year after a weak third quarter, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The survey of 38 analysts and traders conducted over the last two weeks returned an average gold price XAG= forecast for next year of $1,153 an ounce, 8 percent below the forecast returned by a similar poll in July.

This year gold is expected to average $1,165.50 an ounce, down from a forecast last quarter of $1,193 an ounce. In the year to date gold has averaged $1,177 an ounce, but it is expected to slip to $1,125 an ounce in the last quarter.

“The chief drivers for a continued abysmal performance in the gold price are mainly twofold - Fed rate hike expectations and disappointing global physical as well as investment demand,” GFMS analyst Johann Wiebe said. “We expect the gold price to remain under pressure and record a new low before year-end.”

Gold fell 5 percent in the third quarter, its worst quarterly performance in a year, and silver by 7.8 percent. Both were hurt by expectations that the era of ultra-low U.S. interest rates, which cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding precious metals, is ending.

While the expected timing of a rate increase has been pushed back in recent weeks to next year, traders are still betting that the Federal Reserve will soon move to lift rates for the first time in nearly a decade.

“Although there is still reasonably widespread hope, and perhaps expectation, that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates this year, we see little reason to do so and we see a slowing global economy as a factor mitigating against this,” Mitsui Precious Metals analyst David Jollie said.

“A raise seems most likely early in 2016. We would expect any rate rise to be bearish for gold initially but for this effect to be limited in scale once it becomes clear that rates will not rise quickly.”

Soft demand from major physical gold consumers China and India has also taken a toll, analysts said. Gold discounts in India reached a three-month high this week on sluggish retail demand, ample supply and higher prices. [GOL/AS]

Silver XAG=, which has averaged $15.97 an ounce so far this year, is expected to average $15.84 in the full year, after falling to $15.14 an ounce in the final three months of the year. The forecast for next year returned by the poll was $16.00 an ounce, down from $17.21 three months ago.

Reporting by Jan Harvey; Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala, Nallur Sethuraman and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Dale Hudson