Gold bugs, be patient your time is coming

Fundamental change occuring in gold: Pro

Demand for physical gold has soared. Okay, so that hasn't shown up significantly in the spot gold price yet but that's likely to come soon, some analysts say.

"Physical gold is disappearing off the market at a terrible rate. As soon as that really starts to hit I think gold goes through the roof," Jim Walker, founder and CEO of Asianomics told CNBC. "That's one of our biggest longs for the year."

(Read more: Prepare for a gold 'moonshot': Peter Schiff)

Mints from Austria to the U.S. and U.K. have reported huge demand for gold coins in recent months as a slump in gold prices last year spurred buying of physical metal.

The Perth Mint, which runs Australia's only gold refinery, said on Monday that sales of gold coins and minted bars rose 10 percent to 64,818 ounces of gold in January in the latest sign of firm demand for gold bars and coins.

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Still, a number of houses including Goldman Sachs expect another bad year for gold, which fell 28 percent in 2013, amid a scaling back of the U.S. Federal Reserve's asset-purchase program.

(Read more: Goldman predicts steep losses for gold in 2014)

And spot gold, trading at around $1,256 an ounce, has struggled to push above the key $1,300 area.

"I think we probably still have people in gold ETFs [exchange traded funds] releasing some of their gold," said Barry Dawes, head of resources at Paradigm Securities, a Sydney-based securities advisory business, giving a reason why gold prices have not pushed above $1,300.

"I can't see that lasting very much longer at all and that real supply-demand numbers for gold will push to a higher gold price," he added.

Six-month chart of gold prices

Fundamental change?

According to Dawes, gold is moving steadily into the next stage of a bull market.

Spot gold prices are up over 4 percent so far this year, outperforming other precious metals such as silver, which is up about 2.3 percent and platinum which up just 0.75 percent.

"There are some fundamental changes that have taken place and one thing that I really note is the performance of gold stocks," said Dawes. "They have started to look better but more importantly they have broken a two-year downtrend against all stocks."

Australia's Newcrest Mining, is up 31 percent so far this year, hitting its highest level in three months on Wednesday.

Evolution Mining, which operates five gold and silver mines in Queensland and Western Australia, has rallied about 8 percent since the start 2014. Both firms have outperformed the broader Australian stock market, which is down just over 5 percent this year.

"As long as gold holds above $1,175-80 it's good, I am positive," Sean Hyman, editor of the Ultimate Wealth Report told CNBC on Wednesday.

(Read more: Gold holds up on safe-haven bids)

"With dollar weakness we should get some base building in metals and all that equity volatility can help gold," he said referring to a recent sell-off in global stock markets that lifted the appeal of the safe-haven asset.

— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC