Despite lower gold prices in the second and third quarters of the year, Canada’s large-cap gold companies are trending towards a stronger second half and most of them are looking to finish the year strong, EY Canada Mining and Metals transaction leader Jay Patel said on Tuesday.
The gold price decreased by 5% in the third quarter, consistent with the decline in the second quarter, mainly owing to the strong US dollar and the recent Federal Reserve rate hike in September.
Patel said that improving grades and production ramp-ups helped senior gold companies to maintain their production guidance for the year, following a challenging second-quarter performance.
Barrick Gold maintained its full-year production guidance at 4.5-million to 5-million ounces, despite weaker gold production in the first half of the year, and so did Goldcorp, keeping its guidance at 2.5-million ounces although production was weaker in the first six months of the year.
EY states in its third quarter ‘Canadian Mining Eye’, which tracks the performance of 100 listed mining companies, that the drop in gold, nickel, copper and zinc prices had resulted in a 12% decrease in the index. This compares with a 1% gain in the second quarter.
Nickel prices decreased by 16% in the third quarter, compared with a 12% gain in the second quarter, while copper and zinc prices declined for the third consecutive quarter with a 5% and 9% drop.
EY says gold prices will likely benefit from ongoing trade tariffs imposed by the US and that the upcoming seasonal demand for physical gold from China and India will support the upward trajectory of prices.
However, the near-term possibility of one more rate hike this year and three more in 2019, could act as a headwind to gold prices.
This is in line with the view of Fitch Solutions, which states that the strong dollar and monetary policy normalisation in the US would keep a lid on prices in the next six months.