Gold prices are set to rise next week as simmering geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are expected to boost the precious metal's safe-haven status.
Prices will also take their cues from a raft of economic data coming in from China, Europe and the US.
As many as 18 of 27 analysts polled in a Kitco Gold Survey said they expected gold prices to trade higher next week, while six predicted that prices will drop and three forecast prices to trade sideways.
One analyst even said that this week's alleged theft of 1.2 billion email usernames and passwords, by Russian cyber-criminals, will prop up prices next week.
Commerzbank Corporates & Markets said in a note to clients: "US President [Barack] Obama has authorised air strikes against the Sunni IS militia in Iraq following their increasingly brutal treatment of the civil population and seizure of strategically important sites. This has given rise to greater risk aversion among market participants.
"What is more, Hamas has rejected an extension of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and resumed missile strikes on Israel. The numerous sources of geopolitical crisis should continue to lend support to gold, at least in the short run. The technical picture has likewise brightened again somewhat given that gold has managed to hold its own above the important 200-day moving average…"
Adam Hewison, president and chief strategist with INO and MarketClub.com, said: "We are extremely bullish on gold for the next five to six weeks. [We are] looking for a move to the $1,380 to $1,400 levels. Look for the theft of 1.2 billion [computer] passwords to strike fear into the online world and push gold higher."
Commerzbank said in a separate note: "On the gold market, the trends observed in the previous year have obviously reversed. Whilst at the time strong physical demand from Asia compensated to some extent for the extremely high outflows of investor funds and at least slowed the fall in the gold price, physical buyers are now withdrawing, whereas investors are 'rediscovering' gold.
"The World Gold Council [WGC] will shortly present data on the breakdown of gold demand in Q2, and next week the [US] SEC will report on the composition of gold ETFs' outflows and inflows. But it is already emerging that speculative investors on COMEX, as well as ETF investors, are increasingly betting on rising prices again."
Gold Ends Higher
US gold futures for delivery in December finished $1.60 lower at $1,309 an ounce on 8 August.
Prices rose 1.2% for the week as a whole, logging their first gain in four weeks.
Spot gold shed 0.2% to $1,310 an ounce after striking $1,322.60, its highest since 14 July.