Is the gold price set to crash?

Credit: Szaaman

Shareholders of gold producers such as Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM), St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM), Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST), and OceanaGold Corporation (ASX: OGC) are likely to have a nervous day ahead of them.

Following the conclusion of its comprehensive assessment of monetary policy the Bank of Japan will announce its next move later today. To begin with the central bank will announce its latest interest rate decision at lunch, then later in the afternoon Governor Kuroda is expected to advise on its review of monetary policy in his press conference.

According to Bloomberg, analysts are largely split on whether the Bank of Japan will cut interest rates further or opt to increase its asset purchases. Whichever route the central bank takes, it’s likely to be a volatile afternoon for Japanese financial markets and the gold price.

Overnight in the United States the Federal Reserve will announce its own interest rate decision. Whilst few are expecting a rate rise following a bout of weak economic data, according to the Australian Financial Review, Barclays and BNP Paribas are predicting that Janet Yellen will in fact announce a rate hike.

Economists at BNP Paribas believe that despite the recent weak economic data there is currently a window of opportunity for the Federal Reserve to raise rates. If the Federal Reserve does raise rates it is widely expected to strengthen the U.S. dollar and weaken the gold price.

Although many of Australia’s leading gold producers have some of the lowest all-in sustaining costs around the world, any substantial drop in the gold price will squeeze their profits and is likely to put significant pressure on their share prices.

Of course if rates stay on hold the gold price could edge higher and take Newcrest and its fellow gold producers higher with it. But, I see far more downside risk than upside potential right now. As a result I would recommend investors move out of gold and look elsewhere in the market such as the information technology and healthcare sectors.

Instead of the gold producers these three growing shares could be great additions to your portfolio if you ask me.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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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