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Is Gold Overbought?

The seemingly inexorable rise in the price of gold, with record highs scaled on an almost weekly basis, has led some analysts to talk of a bubble forming.

Jack Vearey | Getty Images

While gold may be winning the popularity contest at the moment, there are plenty of people muttering on the sidelines that it isn't as shiny as everyone thinks.

A fall in the price of the precious metal on Tuesday suggested they are gaining more listeners.

Over virtually any time period in the past few years, the rise of gold has been impressive. A quick look at the price chart shows that the spot price for the precious metal is up by more than $400, or 29 percent, in less than two months, and has doubled in less than 2½ years.

The factors driving that rise have already been well documented elsewhere on this site:flight to safe havens amid market volatility elsewhere; therise of the Indian and Chinese consumer and the swings and arrows of the currency markets.

There have even been suggestions of a return to the gold standard, where currencies are pegged to the value of gold.

With forecasts for global gross domestic product growth being cut at Morgan Stanley and elsewhere, bond yields are likely to remain low.

The question now puzzling the gold bulls and bears is when the price of gold will start to falter again.

Gold has actually been rising gradually since the early years of the last decade, Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com, pointed out in a research note Wednesday.

"Even if gold has been in a current uptrend for the best part of 11 years, history tells us that trends in gold can persist for longer than this," she said. "Gold has been called a bubble for years; however, so far it hasn’t popped in any meaningful way."

Analysts at Mirae Asset in Hong Kong have cautioned that the precious metal is in a bubble that’s about to burst.

The World Gold Council, the industry body, predicted earlier this month that full-year demand for gold will increase.

"Gold is currently above its weekly, daily and even hourly moving averages, which suggests it is in overbought territory," said Brooks.

"However, the price keeps powering ahead towards $1,900… in such overbought territory we urge caution. Support lies at $1,850—the pivot point and key technical indicator—below here is $1,795. (And) $1,910 is an immediate resistance level."

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