Exiting WGC chair: Gold Could Hit $1,400

The price of gold could go as high as $1,400 before this decade ends, driven in part by the weak dollar, says Pierre Lassonde, exiting chairman of the World Gold Council.

He spoke at a Mar. 11 press conference in Mumbai, India, following the WGC’s first-ever board meeting in India, where Gregory C. Wilkins, president and chief executive officer of Barrick Gold Corp., was elected to succeed him.

Gold prices move in “inverse proportion to the U.S. dollar,” Lassonde said, reported The Hindu, India’s national newspaper. “This decade, we are likely to see the Chinese Renminbi go from 8.4 to 4.2 to the dollar, and gold move up from $700 to $1,400.”

Also pushing gold prices upward for the near future are strong demand from India and China, now the globe’s major gold consumers, and falling gold mine production globally, down nearly 2 percent annually for the past five years, said WGC officials. Even so, as gold prices have “hit new plateaus” in the past two years, “consumers have accordingly adjusted,” said James Burton, WGC CEO, reported “The Hindu.”

Gregory Wilkins, the new WGC chairman, noted the rising global demand for gold jewelry in the past five years (from $33 billion to $80 billion), and said “this is an exciting time for gold industry.” He noted WGC’s recent successes, including introduction three years ago of exchange traded gold, which he wants to expand into new markets, and “rejuvenation of the gold jewelry market in key geographies.” Wilkins said he looks forward to “picking up the baton” from Lassonde and “driving the WGC’s mandate to develop sustainable demand for gold.”

During trading Thursday on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold jumped as high as 997.10 dollars per ounce, which beat the previous record of $994.20 set earlier in the day, before retreating to $995.14 per ounce.

Lassonde was elected WGC chairman in 2005. He played a pivotal role in increasing the WGC membership base, which now represents 23 companies and more than 60% of obtainable global gold production, and was instrumental in rolling out gold-backed, exchange-traded funds in Europe and Asia.

The WGC, a global advocate for gold, is funded by the world’s leading gold mining companies and promotes demand for gold in all its forms through marketing activities in major international markets.