Precious metals investors had an excellent 2019, with gold, silver, platinum and palladium seeing sustained growth over a 12-month period. Gold eclipsed the critical resistance barrier of $1,500 per ounce in September. Other metals saw even more impressive growth, but none more than palladium, the most valuable of the four major precious metals. Palladium, a lustrous platinum-group metal, saw a price increase of 59% on the year. Silver experienced a more modest gain of 15.3% over the same period, and platinum boasted a 21.6% year-end gain.
Overall, the 2019 precious metals market was a dream come true for investors.
As CEO of an international alternative assets firm, I’ve helped countless investors diversify their investment portfolios and 401(k)/IRA retirement accounts with precious metals. With the knowledge gathered from over a decade of experience, I’ve put together a list of metals with the best upside potential in the year ahead.
Silver: Modest Upside, Moderate Risk
Silver is perhaps the most unique precious metal. China is by far the world’s largest silver consumer due to its massive industrial economy and manufacturing sector, which utilizes silver in the production of solar panels, electric vehicle parts and more.
However, production slowdowns due to the spread of the novel coronavirus could limit industrial output and cause a decline in global silver demand. Ultimately, I predict that silver will remain a strategic metal with industrial applications that will likely see moderate price increases in 2020. The extent to which it increases will be dependent on the current pandemic and whether Chinese and U.S. leaders successfully negotiate a phase-two trade deal.
Palladium: A Riskier, High-Ceiling Investment
Despite a record-breaking growth year, investors remain bullish on palladium. Automakers make up about 85% of palladium’s global consumption due to the metal’s usage in exhaust pipes of gas-powered and hybrid-electric cars. As a catalytic converter, palladium converts toxic exhaust chemicals into water vapor and carbon dioxide.
As global carbon emission standards become increasingly stringent, palladium is becoming regarded by some as the hottest precious metal of the moment. As the world’s automotive fleet moves to electric, demand for palladium will likely gradually decrease. However, I predict that hybrid vehicle production growth will command consistent demand for the metal in the years ahead. Combine that with a forecasted supply deficit, and you can expect another palladium bull run in 2020.
Gold: A Blue-Chip Holding
There’s little doubt that gold will perform reasonably well in 2020. I observed gold entering a bull market in 2019 due to increased geopolitical risk, U.S. economic uncertainty, low U.S. bond yields and a repo market scare. Today, many of those growth conditions remain in place.
The yellow metal thrives during times of global economic crises. Since the United Kingdom formally left the European Union (EU) on January 31, and U.S. President Trump’s trade agenda with China remains unclear, there is a high degree of uncertainty in the global economy. If the EU continues to unravel or if another constituent member signals its intention to leave, I expect gold prices to surge. Likewise, if the implementation of the phase-one U.S.-China trade deal is rolled back, we will likely see an uptick in the price of gold.
Other circumstances, such as a rapidly expanding repo market and the potential for further cuts to the federal funds rate, point to strong growth for gold in the year ahead. Debt loads are increasing among both corporations and governments, which also indicate growth potential for gold.
Platinum: A Riskier Investment
Platinum is coming out of an over seven-year bear market that saw its price stagnate amid consistent growth across all other precious metals. Despite being rarer than gold, platinum is used in a range of industrial applications, including in the production of satellite technologies and fuel cells in electric vehicles, as well as in healthcare instruments such as pacemakers.
Three-quarters of the world’s platinum supply is mined in South Africa. However, many of the leading mines in the country have been mired in controversy following human rights scandals and disruption by labor union action. How these controversies and disruptions will play out in 2020 will have an effect on the price of the precious metal.
At best, I expect platinum to see low to moderate growth in 2020. It’s more likely, however, that platinum prices will stagnate given low investment in South African mines.
Investing In Precious Metals In 2020
Overall, I conclude that the precious metals market in 2020 is looking up. The same forces responsible for last year’s jaw-dropping growth remain in place today, and analysts have no reason to suspect these conditions to change in the months ahead. Trade tensions, geopolitical escalation and equity market volatility point toward another year of growth.
This means it’s a good time for entrepreneurs to invest in gold and other high-growth precious metals. During times of great volatility and economic crisis, precious metals can add much-needed diversification to your portfolio so you can safeguard more of your wealth and weather the storm when traditional asset markets suffer and sales decline.
Gold will likely be the safest pick, followed by palladium, with silver a sleeper pick at third. I predict that gold will remain a safe haven store of value during economic and political uncertainty, which makes it a blue-chip investment in 2020 for those looking to achieve diversification and insulate their portfolio against stock and bond market volatility. However, more risk-tolerant investors may consider allocating a minority share of their precious metal allocation to palladium and silver as well.