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Forecasting Crude Oil Price Through the Gold Ratio

Commodities / Crude Oil Jan 14, 2009 - 01:52 PM GMT

By: Richard_Shaw

Commodities Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIf you assume (and that is a uncertain assumption) that gold is fairly priced, and that oil is in search of its fair price, it may be possible to glimpse the “fair value” of crude oil by examining the historical price relationship between the two commodities.

Here is a 20-year, weekly chart of the price of West Texas intermediate crude divided by the price of gold bullion.

The 10-year average ratio in 2000 was about 0.06.  Today the 10-year average ratio is about 0.10.  A visual inspection suggests to us that 0.07 might be a central tendency (although most of the lower values were in the decade of the 90's, and most of the higher values were in the decade of the 00's).

The current low price ratio of about 0.48 was approximately reached or exceeded in 1994, 1995 and 1998 (3 of 20 years).

Today WTI crude is at about $41.  Gold is at about $855.

Applying the averages we might think of a “fair value” for oil in the $51 to $86 range.  If we apply the apparent 0.07 central tendency, we might think of an oil “fair value” of about $60.

That range of prices is not so different than other sources of estimates.

The Saudi oil minister recently said that $70 is the necessary price for oil to be attractive to all sides for various reasons

We have read that the cost of finding and lifting new oil from deep ocean wells (the largest expected source of oil reserves replacement) is about $70 to $75.

In a September 2008 article , we used different criteria to predict that oil would probably fall to about $70, but discussed some scenarios that could go below $30, as well as to $90.

The most recent Department of Energy - Energy Information Agency prediction for imported light sweet crude in 2010 is about $82.

These observations may be useful to those interested in oil or gold funds such as USO, GLD, BPT, COSWF and others.

By Richard Shaw

Richard Shaw leads the QVM team as President of QVM Group. Richard has extensive investment industry experience including serving on the board of directors of two large investment management companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management (listed London Stock Exchange) and as a charter investor and director of Lending Tree ( download short professional profile ). He provides portfolio design and management services to individual and corporate clients. He also edits the QVM investment blog. His writings are generally republished by SeekingAlpha and Reuters and are linked to sites such as Kiplinger and Yahoo Finance and other sites. He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College.

Copyright 2006-2009 by QVM Group LLC All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilizing methods believed reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Do your own due diligence.

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