Gold's drop to 15-month lows may be timely for Asian buyers, but even an army of discount-hungry Indian matriarchs won't be enough to arrest the precious metal's slide in the fourth quarter amid the onslaught of the resurgent dollar, a CNBC survey of strategists and traders showed.
Almost two-thirds of respondents said gold has scope to fall further in the final quarter pressured by a surging U.S. dollar, while 35 percent believe the selling is overdone and prices will recover towards year-end as Asian physical demand returns.
"The death of the Asian gold market is greatly exaggerated," Mark O'Byrne, Founder and Executive Director of Dublin-based bullion dealer GoldCore, told CNBC in emailed comments. "Asian buyers have already begun coming back to the market and the latest data shows demand in India has picked up markedly and Chinese demand remains robust."
Demand from buyers in India – the world's second-largest consumer after China – will reach a crescendo in the last two weeks of this month during the Hindu 'festival of lights' or Diwali which falls on October 23.
"Expect demand to increase when typically price-sensitive Asian buyers sense the market is hitting bottom," said Edmund C. Moy, chief strategist at California-based Fortress Gold and a former director of the United States Mint.
India tripled gold imports in August to just over $2 billion despite continued import restrictions. "Asian buyers have already started returning to the market," Moy said, though demand from China – now the world's leading buyer – looks less certain. "China's gold buying was set back because of a more robust anti-corruption campaign that references luxury gifts including gold."