Read this before you buy gold shares today

Credit: Mark Herpel

Just one week into the new year and already my humble resolution to ‘grow my money’ is in tatters!

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is getting hammered and it’s a horrible feeling when you see your carefully picked portfolio falling with it.

If you’re like me, gold miners are probably starting to look pretty attractive right now. Volatility usually drives the gold price higher and we saw this yesterday with the spike in gold price and flow on to shares of gold miners like Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN). Any port in a storm, right?

Well before we jump into shares of gold miners, propelled by our emotions, let’s have a look at what the rest of 2016 might hold for gold.

Not all that glitters is gold

Despite being one of the best performing metals in 2015, gold itself was still a terrible investment, dropping by 11%. This didn’t stop shares in Newcrest Mining jumping 19% however, helped by the falling Aussie dollar relative to the U.S. dollar.

It was the third straight annual loss for the metal. It was also surprisingly well forecast by analysts canvased by Bloomberg at the end of 2014, who were of the consensus that the gold price would not rise in 2015.

What are the analysts saying about 2016?

So what do the analysts see for 2016? Well, despite the current turmoil which has pushed the spot price of gold past US$1,109 per ounce, two of the most accurate gold price forecasters are predicting another poor year for gold.

Barnabas Gan of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp expects gold to drop to US$950 per ounce by the end of 2016 according to Bloomberg. This echoes sentiment of Societe Generale London analyst Robin Bhar who is forecasting a similar level of US$955.

The big problem for gold remains a lack of inflation – the increase in price of goods and services. Inflation in the U.S. has been loitering below 2% for the last three years because of low borrowing costs and a huge decline in commodities like oil which reduce production costs. No inflation means little demand from investors and speculators for gold which historically rises with inflation.

Foolish takeaway

Gold is a very “emotional” commodity which jumps in price when uncertainty hits global stock markets. But given the weak outlook for inflation and negative analyst sentiment for 2016, my plan is to avoid jumping into gold miners like Newcrest Mining and opting instead to add to my other shareholdings when volatility knocks down prices like at present.

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Motley Fool contributor Regan Pearson has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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