Clifford Mishler asked me at lunch this week how my annual forecasts for 2013 were panning out.
I don’t honestly know as I haven’t given most of my forecasts a thought since they were published early this year.
I got cold feet after gold demonstrated incredible strength up though 2006 and I felt that its price would take a powder. After all, how many up years in a row could the precious metal have?
As it turns out, the number now appears to be 12, which it achieved at the end of 2012. This year has not yet ended, but the metal is down far enough from its $1,674.80 2012 close that there seems to be no possibility of a recovery that would extend its up record to 13 years in a row.
So how can I be wrong in my forecasts yet again?
Well, after being wrong so many times I finally flipped my position. After a half dozen years of looking for a down year, being wrong about it and being ribbed for it, I finally threw in the towel. As I wrote, “Gold seems to rise now on good news, and 2013 should be a good year.”
I have heard an old market saying many times that bull markets end when the last skeptic has been converted. What I didn’t know is that in the case of the gold bull market I apparently was the last skeptic.
I had a premonition that this might be so because I wrote, “Longtime readers might want to warn gold and silver investors about my change of heart. This either means that the trend is now so obvious that even I can see it, or the sky is about to fall in.”
The sky duly fell in.
Silver closed last year at $30.173. While I could have taken opposite views about gold and silver, I did not. They tend to move in the same direction. That is not true 100 percent of the time, but it is true often enough that there is no point trying to be cute about it.
So if I am wrong about one, I am also wrong about the other.
It won’t be long before I will have to write my forecasts for 2014. I expect I will have to offer new views on gold and silver yet again, though I really don’t see how I can do much more to prove that you can get a better forecast of their future from flipping a coin than from reading my annual forecasts.
But forecasts are a tradition. I will continue to make them. New Year’s is a time for optimism and a clean slate. My gold and silver forecasts will be unassailable for a few weeks, anyway.
Besides, I make a total of 10 predictions for each year, so there is still hope that I will be right often enough in my other eight forecasts for 2103 that overall I will be able to salvage some shred of credibility despite my gold and silver record.
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