Gold prices could drop to $1,000 an ounce in 2015 as a strong US dollar is expected to mount further pressure on the precious metal.
As many as seven out of 10 analysts polled in a Kitco Gold Survey said they expected gold prices to fall to $1,000 an ounce in 2015.
More survey participants said it was possible for gold to drop to $1,000 given that the metal continued to trade below the 200-day moving average of $1,268.
US Global Investor's CEO Frank Holmes told Kitco that noted economist Nouriel Roubini's 2013 prediction that gold will drop to $1,000 an ounce before the end of 2015 may be right because the level was "within the normal DNA of volatility of gold".
The strong greenback will cause "prevailing pressure" on gold prices in 2015, Holmes added. Demand for dollar-denominated commodities such as gold typically weakens on a stronger greenback as it makes the metal more expensive for holders of other currencies, lowering its hedge appeal.
But Axel Merk of Merk Investments said the only scenario where Roubini's call could be right was if investors see a "very hawkish" US Federal Reserve, adding that he did not think rate hikes will equate to a hawkish Fed.
Merk said: "I think it was Goldman Sachs that had said long ago that they think gold is going to be $1,000. If you speak to that analyst, even that fellow thinks long term gold is going to do much better, they just think that short-term it's going to plunge down to $1,000."
Most analysts do not expect to see any major movement in price over the next two weeks, thanks to the year-end holidays.
However, Julian Jessop, head of commodity strategy at Capital Economics, cautioned that gold prices could destabilise over the holidays if the Russian economy deteriorated or if there was more volatility in oil prices.
Gold ends lower
US gold futures for delivery in February finished at $1,196 an ounce on 19 December.
Prices were down some $26 for the week as a whole.
Commerzbank Corporates & Markets said in a note: "Although gold is likely to cost roughly the same at the end of 2014 as it did at the start of the year, it nonetheless fluctuated considerably during the course of the year and at times was exposed to strong headwind. After a positive first quarter which was followed by a sideways movement, the price came under noticeable pressure from mid-year.
"A range of factors weighed on the price: the US dollar for example appreciated significantly after the US economy picked up again after making a weak start to the year, and there was speculation on the market about when the US Federal Reserve would end its bond purchasing programme (QE3) and raise interest rates."
"Climbing equity markets also made gold appear less attractive, while low inflation rates did not favour gold as a store of value either. In addition, there was reticence on the part of Asian gold consumers, as evidenced for a time in very low Chinese and Indian gold imports. The latter were the result of import restrictions that were eased only recently.
"This year also saw ETF investors withdraw further from the gold market: outflows of 157 tons have been registered since the start of the year, though this figure is much lower than the 869 tons recorded last year..."