The gold market hasn’t performed well during the year: The price of gold fell by more than 20%. This tumble has also adversely affected gold companies such as Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX): Share of the company plummeted by more than 50% (year-to-date). But in the past month the company’s stock has bounced back and rose by nearly 10%. This rally coincided with the recovery of the gold market. Will this shift continue? Is this gold company worth reconsidering?
Gold and silver markets are slowly recovering
During July both gold and silver prices rallied: Gold price rose by 8.5%; silver price, by 2%. This rally has also reflected in the rise in leading precious metals’ ETFs: SPDR Gold (NYSEMKT: GLD) and iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT: SLV). During the month, SPDR Gold rose by almost 7.5%; Shares Silver Trust edged up by 0.32%.
Despite the recent rally in the price of SPDR Gold, the demand for this ETF continues to fall. The current ETF’s gold holdings are 927.35 tonnes, which are nearly 4.35% below the gold holdings at the end of June and 31.35% below the levels at the beginning of 2013. The decline in gold holdings has also reflected in the drop in GLD’s asset value: current asset value is $39.46 billion, which is 24.7% lower than the asset value of $52.43 billion at the end of 2012. Therefore, even though gold has rallied from last month’s tumble, the demand for gold ETF hasn’t improved.
The iShares Silver trust’s total tonnes of silver is currently at 10,419.02. Moreover, the ETF’s net assets are $6.59 billion, which are nearly 19% below the net assets recorded at the end of 2012. Most of the drop in net assets is due to the sharp fall in silver price during the year. Nonetheless, the current outstanding shares are nearly 3.6% higher than at the end of 2012, which could suggest a slow rise in demand for this ETF. Nonetheless, I think it’s also too soon to determine that gold and silver are making a comeback and this sentiment is reflected in the recent developments in gold and silver ETFs. Let’s turn to examine the upcoming developments of Barrick.
Second quarterly earning reports
In the upcoming financial reports for the second quarter of 2013, Barrick isn’t expected to show growth. Based on the company’s expected gold production, and the average price of gold in the second quarter, the company’s revenues from gold will decline by nearly 8% (year-over-year). The table below summarizes these data.
In order to determine the future progress of Barrick, we will need to examine its gold and copper production and the developments in the metals prices. In terms of production, the company still projects its gold production will range between 7 and 7.4 million ounces with an average of 7.2 million ounces, which represent a 2.7% drop in production compared to 2012. But at the current pace the company is heading towards its lower bound. The decline in production is likely to negatively affect its revenues. The biggest problem, however, is the weak gold market and the tumble in gold price, which as of July is nearly 22.5% below the price of gold in the third quarter of 2012. The company’s profit margin in the first quarter reached 39%, which is 7 percentages points below the profitability in the first quarter of 2012. If the current price of gold will remain at its current range the company’s profitability may range between 30% and 35% in the coming quarters. The all-in sustaining costs of production are expected to range between $950 and $1,050 per ounce. Therefore, if the price of gold will dwindle below $1,100 it could become unprofitable to produce gold.
Barrick’s recent delay in its Pascua-Lama project in Chile and Argentina will free up some cash for company by approximately $700-$800 million in 2013 and approximately $0.8-$1.0 billion in 2014. This decline in capital expenditure in these years will ease up the company’s cash flow constraint and enable the company to allocate these funds towards developing new projections or paying out some of its loans.
The company’s copper business is doing a bit better even though this segment accounts for 12% of its total revenues. The company projects its average production will be 9% above last year’s production. Conversely, the decline in copper price will eliminate some of the gains in copper production.
The recent recovery of gold hasn’t impressed investors that continue to slowly move out of gold ETF. The current low gold price along with the expected decline in gold production is likely to adversely affect Barrick’s bottom line. Finally, its upcoming quarterly earnings report is likely to show a decline in revenues and narrower profit margins, which could bring down the company’s stock.
For further reading:
- Do Gold and Silver protect you from Inflation?
- Is Gold Making a Comeback?
- Could Royal Gold turn it around in 2013?
Disclaimer: The author holds no positions in stocks mentioned and does not plan to initiate positions within 120 hours of the posting of this article. This article is to be used for educational, research and informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. There are no guarantees, expressed or implied, of future positive returns in regards to the subject matter contained herein. Understand the risks inherent in investing before making the decision to invest or consult an investment professional for more information. Reasonable due diligence has been performed in regards to the information in this article. However, the author expressly disclaims any liability for accidental omissions of information or errors in fact.