Despite Monday's steep 3% drop, however, the biggest gold ETF SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) shed less than 1 ton which means that gold did find buyers. Mihir Dange, founder of Arbitrage, said "there must be some kind of fund liquidation." Dange thinks that gold should be $200 higher but that end-of-year rebalancing of gold -- selling it for a profit or dumping it from portfolios -- is dominating the market.
One worry brewing is India. India consumed 963 tons of gold in 2010, but in the third quarter jewelry demand fell 26%, according to the World Gold Council. "We would expect Indian demand to pick up but it depends on the currency," said Marcus Grubb, managing director at the World Gold Council, and a stronger dollar has been hammering the rupee. The U.S. dollar is currently up around 1% vs. the rupee, which has left many experts worried about a lack of gold buying in the country. "India as a nation is quite possibly the planet's largest buyer of bullion," wrote Stephen Guilfoyle, economist at Meridian Equity Partners. "When the home currency is weak against a commodity priced in dollar terms, the home team not only will be discouraged from buying said commodity, but will be motivated to take a profit because the commodity is worth much more of the home currency." According to Darst, Indian citizens own a fifth of the world's above-ground gold supply. A big swing in their consumption habits would create waves for the gold prices but Darst thinks their commitment to gold is strong. "In India 73% of their 1.1 billion people still live on the farm and for them gold is the bank," Darst said.
-- Written by Alix Steel in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel.