Gold prices eased below $1,580 an ounce on Wednesday as traders took to the sidelines ahead of the release later in the day of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting, Reuters report showed.
Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,578.99 an ounce at 1248 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were down $7.80 an ounce at $1,578.90.
Goldman Sachs cut its 2013 gold price forecast for the second time in six weeks, to $1,545 an ounce from $1,610, a day after UBS cut back its price view for this year. It is targeting a gold price of $1,450 an ounce by year-end, it said.
Softer investor confidence in the metal after a fresh outflow from the world’s largest gold exchange-traded fund and a further forecast cut from Goldman Sachs weighed on prices.
The precious metal traded in its widest weekly range since mid-February last week, sliding to a 10-month low at $1,539.74, as funds favoured other assets such as equities, before rebounding sharply on the back of weak U.S. jobs data.
“The first-quarter downtrend remained intact, overwhelming the short-term uptrend, with investors taking profits after the late rebound,” VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said.
“Goldman’s downgrade, as well as UBS recently, did not help,” he added. “The (Fed) minutes tonight are likely to show hawks getting louder…(and) technically we are still very weak.”
“Investors will be mainly scouring the minutes for any new indications of when QE3 might be terminated, or of any significant reduction in the bond purchasing volume,” Commerzbank said in a note. “Following last week’s poor U.S. labour market report, however, a premature end to QE3 would appear to have become less likely,” it added.