Gold Prices Could Hit $1,800, Poll Says

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Gold prices will keep rallying to new records in 2011, according to a recent poll of readers of TheStreet.

Of the almost 6,000 people who have taken our poll (the poll is still open, please go vote), roughly 47% believe gold prices will finish 2011 between $1,500 and $1,800 an ounce. With 23% of the vote and in second place was the the $1,200 and $1,500 price range. The third place price range was comprised of the truly bullish, with the $1,800 to $2,000 price range drawing 17% of the vote, or more than 1,000 people. Only 7% of voters felt gold would come in between $1,000 and $1,200, while a scant 5.2% could envision gold prices dipping below $1,000.

How high gold prices will go has been a hotly contested debate especially as the metal has been unable to sustain highs. Gold prices are relatively flat since the start of the year, but are up 6% since the beginning of February and have also reached a record settle of $1,445.70 an ounce.

Gold prices were hit hard in the beginning of the year as traders sold positions to rebalance their portfolios, but regained momentum as political unrest in the Middle East-North Africa region ignited safe haven buying.

Recent high inflation readings have also prompted traders to buyback old positions and have brought a wave of new investors into the market.

Price forecasts from CEOs to experts run the gamut.

Goldman Sachs ( GS) said in a research report Thursday that it expects gold to rally "towards our 3-month price target of $1,480" an ounce. Goldman is recommending investors get long on gold by buying the December 2011 futures contract currently trading at $1,426.10 an ounce.

The caveat? This golden situation won't last. Goldman expects U.S. rates to recover as the second round of quantitative easing ends in June and as the U.S. economy continues to strengthen. As a result, Goldman believes gold prices will peak in 2012.

"Gold at current price levels is a compelling trade, not a long term investment," the report said. Goldman also warns gold producers to "begin scaled up hedging of forward production," despite the fact that most major producers like AngloGold Ashanti ( AU), Barrick Gold ( ABX) and Kinross Gold ( KGC) raced to de-hedge over the past two years. Morgan Stanley ( MS) has a 2011 gold price target of $1,512 an ounce while JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) will now accept gold as collateral.

Mark Bristow, chief executive officer of Randgold Resources ( GOLD), is betting on a gold price target of $1,500.

Chuck Jeannes, CEO of Goldcorp ( GG), said reaching $1,500 an ounce is "easily achievable." Jeannes said it's important to consider highs adjusted for inflation, which could push the price as high as $2,300.

"Gold will ultimately go above $2,000 and I think it's going to go in steps so I could see $1,600 this year," said Sean Boyd, CEO of Agnico-Eagle ( AEM).

Mark Cutifani, CEO of AngloGold Ashanti ( AU), expects gold to trade between $1,300 and $1,500. Aaron Regent, CEO of Barrick Gold ( ABX) also said he believes the "forward curve would suggest a gold price in the $1,500 range."


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-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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