Japan Commemorations for New Emperor, 2020 Olympics to Drive World Gold Price

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The price of gold is projected to rise some 10-15 percent this year as Japan buys more of the valuable commodity to use in celebrations marking the accession of a new emperor and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

"According to Japanese tradition, the Japanese government will issue gold coins to celebrate the new emperor ascending the throne in 2019," said Jasper Lo Cho-yan, a senior vice-president at iBest, part of Haitong International Securities, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). 

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"Japan will also issue gold coins to celebrate the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the market expects the Japanese government to start purchasing physical gold in the second half of this year to meet this demand. This will boost the gold price," he added.

On April 30, 2019, Japan's Emperor Akihito — the 125th Japanese emperor, in power from January 7, 1989 — will abdicate. His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will take over the throne the next day, according to government statements.

Lo predicts that the price of gold will surge to $1,450 per ounce by the end of this year and may even rise to $1,550 in 2019.

The weak US dollar, which plunged to its lowest point against the Japanese yen since September, has also contributed to the increasing value of gold this year.

"Asian currencies and the euro are very strong while the US dollar remains weak. Many economic policies of US President Donald Trump are good for business, but they hurt US dollar strength as the market believes the US wants to see a weak US dollar to boost its exports," Lo detailed.

"The stock market rose substantially last year and it could have a correction this year. It is likely that investors would shift their focus from stocks to gold," suggested Alfred Yeung Ping-kwan, founding chairman of investment firm Glory Sky Group, suggesting that some investors will start investing in gold instead of stocks, cited by SCMP.

Yeung predicts the price of gold to rise to $1,420 per ounce this year.

Haywood Cheung Tak-hay, president of the Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society, also believes that political instability could contribute to an increase in the value of gold.

"ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries still have strong demand for gold. The tax policies of US President Donald Trump are likely to lead to a weak US dollar and a stronger gold price, while political uncertainties such as Brexit negotiations for Britain's exit from the European Union would also support the gold price," he said.

"I believe the gold price would stay around $1,500 per ounce or above," he added.

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