Has gold lost its shine?

Has gold lost its shine?
Buying gold jewellery in Malaysia's Masjid India area, in Kuala Lumpur.

SINGAPORE - Gold has defied plenty of financial storms in the past decade or so but the shine has come off, with signs that it will end the year at a lower price than on Jan 1 - the first time this would have happened since 2001.

There is still more than a month to go before the verdict for 2013 is in, but the precious metal seems to have lost its puff.

Gold was at US$1,248 (S$1,562) per ounce last Thursday, down 25 per cent from the US$1,670 level in January.

This is a far cry from the metal's heyday in the 2000s.

In 2007, the price surged 31.7 per cent over the course of the year, after rising 23.77 per cent in 2006.

Last year, gold was up 5.86 per cent, after rising 11.31 per cent in 2011.

At its peak in 2011, gold was commanding US$1,887 per ounce.

Sunday Invest looks at gold's prospects.

Is gold losing its lustre?

Analysts say many institutional investors have been liquidating their gold holdings over the past year as confidence in the global financial system has improved, and a gold rally to rival the peaks of the 2000s is unlikely.

Mr Avtar Sandu, senior commodities manager at Phillip Futures, says large amounts of liquidity in the market over the past decade - a result of the US Federal Reserve's efforts to stimulate the economy - boosted the gold price.

The precious metal, which does not pay interest or a yield, is traditionally held as a hedge against inflation and volatility.

Low interest rates made gold attractive, as the opportunity cost of owning it is lower.

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