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Gold seen as less bad this year, but lows are still ahead

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Despite bearish calls for gold, some analysts see the metal's prospects as slightly less bleak this year.

"It does look like the increase in short positions on the Comex has sort of halted," said Jim Steel, chief commodities analyst at HSBC. "I think the continued physical demand in the Far East has also been a sort of sign for the market. Although investment demand remains weak, there's still a home for the physical side."

Traders increased net long positions in gold futures and options to 40,256 in the week of Jan. 7, the highest level since November, according to CFTC data.

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