As we near the halfway point for 2012, gold bugs can’t be too happy about the performance of their favorite metal.
The price of gold, which closed on Jan. 1, 2012, at $1,598 an ounce, was trading at press time at $1,585, meaning all its gains for the year have basically been erased. (It has gained a bit from its Dec. 29, 2011, closing price, which was $1,531 an ounce.)
While the price of gold rose early in the year, the metal has lately seen three straight months of declines—the first time that has happened in 11 years.
The decline is generally attributed to growing investor confidence in the dollar. Still, many market watchers believe that the metal’s fortunes may turn around yet again.
“Gold has struggled,” said Suki Cooper, commodities analyst at Barclays Capital on CNBC, noting that investor interest in gold and Asian support has slowed down. “But we still think the macro background is gold-favorable.”
She believes the metal will eventually climb to $1,800 this year.
Barclays, however, has cut its gold forecast for the year, noting that the metal is behaving more like a “risky asset” than the safe haven it’s traditionally seen as. Barclays is the fourth major bank to do so.
Bucking the trend is Goldman Sachs, which has reportedly maintained its prediction of a gold price rally later this year.
“The case for higher gold prices remains in place,” a Goldman analyst reportedly said. “U.S. economic and employment data has now disappointed for several weeks, European election results point to further stress in the euro area, while anecdotal data suggests that physical gold demand remains resilient.”