(Gold prices article updated with SPDR Gold news and closing gold prices.)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. ( TheStreet ) -- Gold prices could break the $1,600 an ounce mark this year according to Sean Boyd, chief executive officer of Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM).

Boyd is among the many mining executives attending the 20th BMO Capital Markets Global Metals & Mining Conference here this week.

"Gold will ultimately go above $2,000 and I think its going to go in steps so I could see $1,600 this year, which means $40 to $45 silver," Boyd told TheStreet.

Gold for April delivery settled up $21.30 at $1,431.20 an ounce on Tuesday at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,431.50 and as low as $1,409.80 during Tuesday's session.

Gold prices also got a boost from rising oil prices and comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke about inflation and the impact of rising commodity costs. In his semi-annual monetary policy report to the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke reiterated his expectations for modest inflation in the near-term and hastened to assure that the central bank was keeping a close eye on commodity prices.

"The most likely outcome is that the recent rise in commodity prices will lead to, at most, a temporary and relatively modest increase in U.S. consumer price inflation -- an outlook consistent with the projections of both FOMC participants and most private forecasters," Bernanke said in a statement. "That said, sustained rises in the prices of oil or other commodities would represent a threat both to economic growth and to overall price stability, particularly if they were to cause inflation expectations to become less well anchored."

According to a report from Reuters, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD), the world largest gold-backed exchange traded fund, said holdings fell for a fifth consecutive month.

Gold holdings declined by 520,580 ounces in February to 38.934 million ounces, compared to a 1.722 million ounce fall in January.

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-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.

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