LONDON Gold prices are expected to end 2013 at $1,450-1,550 per ounce, only partly recovering from a recent brutal selloff that shook investor confidence after 12 unbroken years of gains, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.
Most of the 29 banking analysts and consultants polled expected prices to stay above the $1,400 mark, finding support after the biggest two-day loss in 30 years sank gold to its lowest since early 2011 last week at around $1,321.
Gold is around 25 percent below a record high of $1,920.30 hit in September 2011, putting it in bear market mode.
"The bear market has just started and we expect it to run for longer," said Georgette Boele, co-ordinator of fx and commodity strategy at ABN Amro.
Investors in gold-backed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)deserted bullion in droves after the proposed disposal of Cyprus' gold holdings to help its bailout fanned fears that other indebted central banks in Europe might do the same.
Support for holding gold in a low interest rate environment has also been undermined by a brightening global economic backdrop and uncertainty over the future of U.S. monetary policy stimulus.
While prices are expected to steady, the overwhelming tone of the outlook remained bearish.
"There has been a lot of damage, a lot of negative sentiment that it would take a long time to really sort of reverse that and I don't think we have the ingredients to do that," said Robin Bhar, analyst at Societe Generale in London.
For end-year price forecasts click link.reuters.com/qaw57t
For quarterly precious metals poll click : link.reuters.com/pyk45t
NO WAY BACK?
Most analysts struggled for factors that would take bullion back to the sort of gains enjoyed when prices rose to 2011's record from lows around $250 before the bull run started in 2001.
Yet some kept a longer-term bullish outlook, expecting pent-up inflation from the wall of money created by expansive monetary policy to emerge.
"It's only a matter of time until these stimulus initiatives generate inflation, depress the dollar and push gold higher," said David Beahm, vice president for marketing and economic research at Blanchard and Company.
"The velocity of money remains at record lows, as low as during the Great Depression, but dollars are staying in the hands of financial institutions and not trickling down to consumers," Beahm said.
"Once they do ...we'll finally see that increase in inflation that mysteriously hasn't emerged."
However, the more immediate outlook was downbeat in a quarterly Reuters poll on Tuesday, with the 38 analysts surveyed slashing predictions for average prices in 2013 and 2014.
They saw gold at averaging $1,627 per ounce this year, down 8 percent from $1,775 in the previous poll conducted in January.
Analysts expect the price to average $1,585 in 2014, falling further from a record average of $1,668 last year, based on the average last price according to Reuters data.
Silver prices were seen at an average $30.02 an ounce this year, slipping from 2012's $31.13.
National Australia Bank (NAB), the only institution to see gold at an average below $1,600 in the January survey, said it expected bullion prices to fall further this year as growth in major advanced economies recovers and downside risks fade.
"Partly offsetting this is our expectation for central bank purchases by the emerging economies to provide continued support to prices over the remainder of the year, along with continued strong consumer demand from India and China," NAB said.
However, it added that "as global economic conditions improve further, we expect investors to diversify further into riskier assets and away from gold."
(Additional reporting by Shruti Chaturvedi; editing by Jason Neely)