KITCO NEWS (Vienna, Austria) Gold prices are trading slightly lower Thursday, and HSBC’s senior analyst says he remains ‘moderately optimistic.’ At the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) conference in Vienna, he told Kitco News that HSBC’s average price forecast for the yellow metal stands at $1,160 an ounce, with a year-end forecast of around $1,205. ‘Next year, our average is $1,205, which takes us to a year-end of around $1,255,’ he added. Looking at platinum, Steel said he has a positive outlook for the metal’s price based on tighter supply concerns going forward. ‘I’m not sure if [sentiment] is universally so bearish [for the metals],’ he said. 'I think the market is under this stabilization period so it would not be unusual to get a lot of diverse opinion.’ On silver, he said that although demand picks up when prices dip, he sees limited upside for the metal’s price. December silver futures were last quoted up at $15.78/oz while December gold futures were down at $1,165.00/oz.