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(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Gold has declined over 12 percent in value since its intra-day, 26-year high of $730 on May 12th. Its current level of $638 means that it is at a crucial juncture, with analysts split over the direction of the next move.
From a fundamental standpoint, gold traditionally rallies as the dollar weakens - which explains the meteoric ascent of gold's value this year since the dollar has fallen over 8% against the euro and 5% against the yen over that same period. However, the clamor for gold in industry is weakening, with jewelry makers' demand for 2006 expected to be down 15% from last year.
From a technical stance, the gold chart looks ambiguous, too. There is support for the commodity at the $625 level, however, the recent falls are less encouraging.
"We are happy to be buyers on a short-term basis," said Oli Greenspan, trader at Hamilton Court Capital in London. However, he pointed out that if the price slips below $625 the uptrend would come to an end.
This view was reflected elsewhere, as well.
"At current levels the uptrend appears to be intact, however, it topped out at $700 and needs to hold above $600 for the trend to remain in place," commented Lawrence Peterman, investment director at London-based Eden Financial.
Key to the next move is whether the price holds above or below $625 - above, and the likelihood of another climb to $700 looks plausible; below, and there is every possibility that it will fall back to $600.
For now, traders will be holding back and watching carefully for the next breakout from current levels - though, in the long-term, the ascent seems set to continue.
Technical analysis is the study of trading based on previous performance, focusing exclusively on price movements rather than the fundamentals of the index/commodity involved.