In spite of see-sawing following Friday's non-farms report, gold looks poised for its first annual fall in 14 years, with bullion prices down 26 percent since the start of 2013.
The price of gold has soured since the turn of the century, with the precious metal viewed as both a hedge against inflation and a safe bet in challenging economic climes. Prices rose 872 percent between 1999 — the last year gold clocked up an annual fall — and 2012, from $172.13 per ounce to $1,674.34, according to data from Reuters and the World Gold Council.
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However, gold has been hard hit this year by fears of an imminent end to the U.S. Federal Reserve's massive stimulus program, as well as by the strength in equities and the rosier global economic picture. The metal traded at $1,234.96 per troy ounce on Friday, down 26 percent since the start of the year and more than 1 percent lower than at the beginning of December, despite paring some losses during the day.
"Our view is that gold is to a very large extent a QE (quantitative easing) story, at least for the time being… About two-thirds of the decline of gold this year can be traced back to three trading days related to Fed's announcement on tapering," said UBS strategists Stephane Deo and Ramin Nakisa in an asset allocation report this week.
(Read more: Gold suffers worst November since 1978)