Wary of Trump unpredictability, China ramps up naval abilities
* China navy beneficiary of signficant spending in recent years
LONDON, Oct 10 Precious metals analysts have become more bullish for the prospects for gold and silver than they were three months ago, but their outlook for platinum and palladium has darkened in line with the outlook for global growth, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. The impact of the euro zone debt crisis on the global economy is expected to keep global monetary policy loose, which should favour gold, while restricting demand for the more industrial metals like silver and the platinum group metals. Silver should get a lift on the back of gold, while the PGMs will be cushioned to an extent by ongoing supply disruptions in South Africa, although the prospect of weak car sales has prompted most analysts to scale back their price forecasts. Below are comments on the outlook for the four metals. GOLD AVG Q4 AVG 2012 AVG 2013 Mean 1795.06 1690.97 1862.40 Median 1785.00 1690.00 1853.75 Highest 2200.00 1780.00 2500.00 Lowest 1630.00 1640.00 1520.00 No. of forecasts 27 28 28 DAVID BEAHM , VP, MARKETING AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH, BLANCHARD & CO "Gold is reasserting itself as a strong safe haven during the current period of risk and uncertainty. The European debt crisis remains a major issue in the global economic marketplace, and other major indicators in the U.S. and abroad continue to illustrate just how feeble the economy remains. Many investors have moved into gold to protect and grow their wealth, and we foresee global investment demand for gold to grow even further than the 900 percent increase it has seen since 2007." ROSS NORMAN, CEO, SHARPS PIXLEY "2012 was always going to be relatively tough for gold just as 2004 was and 2008 was, and for much the same reason - they were all U.S. election years when the dollar did comparatively well. With a run rate of a 17% year-on-year gain over the last decade, gold looks likely to post a modest 12 percent in 2012. Gold is likely to hold its relationship with the US dollar - in 2012 we inversely seen rupee and euro weakness which has translated into all time highs for gold in both of these currencies - this remains a drag on what might have been runaway gold prices. The relationship will be put to the test when brinkmanship over the US fiscal cliff emerges in the new year, which could easily propel gold back to all time highs above $1922." DAVID JOLLIE, STRATEGIC ANALYST, MITSUI PRECIOUS METALS "Gold still remains a virtual currency in the eyes of many people and can act as a form of last ditch insurance. Given the strains that currently exist in the global economic system, we expect gold to continue to benefit from heightened risk and increased perceptions of risk." SILVER AVG Q4 AVG 2012 AVG 2013 Mean 34.88 32.01 36.99 Median 35.00 32.00 35.00 Highest 41.00 35.00 65.00 Lowest 31.50 30.50 30.00 No. of forecasts 26 27 27 BERNARD DAHDAH, ANALYST, NATIXIS "Over the medium term, our concern with the outlook for silver prices is that once global markets return to greater normality, investment demand might not only diminish, but could turn into a considerable source of net supply. The 16,160 tonnes of silver held in physically-backed ETFs are equivalent to almost half of 2011's supply of silver and 70% of new mine supply. Earlier in the year, signs of an improvement in the US economy hinted at a possible net outflow, but the situation reversed during the summer months, and with the introduction of a third round of QE, the resultant boost to silver prices from renewed investor demand is likely to take the price of silver for the year as a whole to an average of $32/oz. followed by 30/oz in 2013." HEATH JANSEN, GLOBAL HEAD METALS AND MINING, CITIGROUP "Investment demand in 2011 was 163.9m oz and this should need to rise to 218m oz in 2013 if the market is to be in balance. This should not be a problem following QE3, but 2013 should need 214m oz and 2014 should need 212m oz of investment demand if the market is to be in balance. With QE3 a distant memory by then, we believe that the market should only find a balance at lower silver prices." PLATINUM AVG Q4 AVG 2012 AVG 2013 Mean 1640.69 1577.17 1737.93 Median 1650.00 1559.50 1722.50 Highest 1750.00 1800.00 1950.00 Lowest 1450.00 1500.00 1525.00 No. of forecasts 17 18 20 MICHAEL WIDMER, STRATEGIST, BANK OF AMERICA-MERRILL LYNCH "Even though there is scope for platinum prices to decline as the crisis in the Eurozone unfolds in the near-term, a correction would magnify the problems for South Africa's miners. This should limit the downside. By the same token, once the global economy stabilises, in our view platinum prices could rise above $2,000/oz through 2013 and into 2014." DEUTSCHE BANK "The overriding trend in the platinum market has been the unprecedented level of supply disruptions, through a combination of illegal strike action, weak pricing which had led to closures and section 54 safety stoppages at the beginning of the year. "However, weak demand and a well-stocked auto sector have simply meant that these supply disruptions prevented a significant inventory build-up over the course of 2012 ... depending on the duration of the current strike at Amplats' four Rustenberg shafts - Khuseleka, Khomanani, Thembelani and Siphumelele, this surplus could easily evaporate by the year end to leave the market in balance for 2012 as a whole. "The starting point for 2013 is therefore a much more balanced market. We believe that any squeeze in the platinum market which could see the platinum to gold premium return, is more likely to occur in the second half of next year." PALLADIUM AVG Q4 AVG 2012 AVG 2013 Mean 675.57 657.90 753.41 Median 658.00 643.50 742.00 Highest 750.00 800.00 900.00 Lowest 630.00 615.00 660.00 No. of forecasts 17 18 20 ROBIN BHAR, ANALYST, SOCIETE GENERALE "Palladium may not suffer any deep corrections, and we expect a steady improvement in prices with a test of $800 in the second quarter of next year and a challenge of $1,000 in 2014. Palladium remains our favoured precious metal for the long term." JAMES MOORE, ANALYST, FASTMARKETS "We feel that the PGMs are likely to remain far more sensitive to wider macro-economic conditions than silver given the scale of investor appetite for silver. While we maintain a bullish outlook for gold and silver next year we are not as optimistic for the PGMs given the increasing levels of scrap recycling and current fundamental imbalances." (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by William Hardy)
* China navy beneficiary of signficant spending in recent years
* India all out for 107 (Updates after Australia win, adds quotes)
NEW DELHI, Feb 25 A unit of Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro has won an onshore engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract from Indian Oil Corp Ltd, the country's largest refiner, worth 11 billion rupees ($165 million), it said in a statement on Saturday.