The dollar gold price drifted back below $1,650 an ounce Wednesday morning, 1.1% down on the week so far, although it jumped higher in Sterling following after a Bank of England report said policymakers are prepared to "look through" persistently high U.K. inflation.
"The $1,625.77 level remains key for [gold's] medium term trend," says Axel Rudolph, senior technical analyst at Commerzbank. "Failure here should provoke a sell-off to below $1,600 level before the precious metal levels out and starts rising again."
"Technically the metal appears susceptible to a move lower," agrees a Deutsche Bank report, perhaps to the $1,600 an ounce level or even $1,550 an ounce... There is a distinct lack of obvious positive catalysts for gold at the moment, with the current environment seemingly bereft of macro[economic] concerns."
Silver also drifted lower this morning, but held above $31 an ounce, while other commodities ticked higher.
"We believe silver is likely to move higher in 2013 based on four factors," says a note from HSBC. "Higher industrial demand, steady investor appetite for hard assets, strong coin and bar purchases, and a bottoming out of jewelry demand."
European stock markets recovered this morning after easing in the first few hours of trading. The FTSE in London was the weakest performer of the major European markets this morning, dropping 0.2% before recovering some ground, after pharmaceutical firm Astra Zeneca, oil producers BP and Shell and payroll software provider Sage all went ex-dividend, meaning anyone who buys their shares today will not receive the next dividend payment.
Shares in London-listed miner African Barrick Gold meantime fell more than 9% to a six-month low this morning after the firm announced its lowest yearly production forecast since it listed in London in 2010. Earnings fell by 39% in 2012, the company said, as production fell and costs rose.
Until last month, Barrick Gold was in talks with China National Gold to sell its 74% stake in African Barrick, but the talks ended with no deal done.
Platinum meantime rose to $1,723 per ounce this morning, its biggest premium over gold in 17 months, after the world's third-largest producer Zimbabwe repossessed land held by the country's biggest producer Zimplats.
In Washington last night, US president Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to highlight job creation, immigration and gun control as priorities for his second term. "Most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda," Obama said. "But let's be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan."
"[Obama is promoting] a go-it-alone approach to pursue his liberal agenda," Republican House of Representatives speaker John Boehner said following the address.