2013 will go down as the annus horribilis for gold, to quote a famous monarch who coined the term as a pithy description for a series of misadventures that befell the British royal family in 1992.
Similarly, gold, as an investment class, was hit by a number of factors this year that saw the precious metal tumble from its perch as a safe, reliable asset that for the past several years has been an attractive alternative to depreciating fiat currencies, a hedge against inflation, and a store of wealth — the latter a sort of insurance policy taken out against future economic calamity.
At the time of this writing, gold had suffered another significant drop in a year that has seen it plummet more than 25 percent in value; or 37 percent lower than gold's record high of $1,923.70 an ounce reached in September 2011.
On the day after the U.S. Federal Reserve's announcement that it will
scale back quantitative easing
, or QE, by $10 billion a month starting in January, gold slipped below the $1,200 an ounce mark for the first time in 6 months, with the spot price trading around $1,196 in New York.
The Fed for months has been musing about when to scale back its quantitative easing program, the $85 billion a month stimulus package that since 2008 has pumped some $4 trillion into the U.S. economy in order to keep interest rates low and prevent the country from falling back into recession. But an improved economic picture in the United States, particularly on the jobs front, has lessened the need for stimulus and increased pressure on the central bank to taper its monthly bond purchases, which due to the program's inflationary nature, has been exceedingly bullish for gold. Since the program started in 2008, the bullion price has more than doubled, and only in the past 12 months has it significantly slipped.
Indeed, there will be no Santa Claus rally for gold this year, and the metal's 12-year bull run has almost certainly come to an end. Or has it? In this 2014 outlook, Gold Investing News takes a look at the main factors that led to gold's demise in 2013 and then offers up some predictions, with some help from the experts, on what 2014 has in store for the precious metal.