KUALA LUMPUR : THE gold price in Malaysia , which tracks the international spot price, is expected to bottom-out this year and finish the year higher. Local gold trader Public Gold expects the current gold price of US$1,200 ( RM3,930 ) to reach about US$1,500 by year-end. "Gold price has undergone a consolidation period since 2011, when the price of about US$1,900 per ounce came down to about US$1,200 an ounce. I expect the price to strengthen to US$1,500 by the end of the year," said its executive chairman, Datuk Louis Ng , in Penang . Ng said several factors are likely to support the gold price this year, such as continuing purchases by India , China and central banks around the world, and persisting debt issues in the United States and the European Union . Other analysts expect the international spot gold price to go down further this year over concerns on the US Federal Reserve's tapering of its stimulus programme and continued selling of bullions in gold-backed exchange traded funds. IF Derivatives Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Chris Loh said the gold price in 2014 will test as low as US$1,000 per ounce with upside limited. He said it will be sideways price to down bias for the commodity this year. Domestically, the gold price has been on the downtrend, especially since mid-2013. Ng, whose company operates a physical gold trading centre as well as minting and refinery facility, said gold price in Malaysia is at its lowest now. He said for the whole of 2013, the gold price in the country has been on the decline as the international gold price tumbled. Ng said the gold price in Malaysia reflects the international trading of gold, where the price is set at the New York Commodity Exchange and London Metal Exchange . "It is also influenced by the strength of the ringgit against the US dollar. If the ringgit is weaker against the US dollar, the gold price will be high in Malaysia as we have to pay more to buy gold." Ng said the recently-established Gold Futures Contract at Bursa Malaysia is timely as there is rising awareness of investing in gold as a commodity. However, he said the public should invest in gold bars or coins rather than in Gold Futures Contract. "Leave that to the experts like hedge funds," he said, adding that Gold Futures Contract involves speculative trading as there are a lot of margin calls. Ng said Malaysians who are opting for gold as an investment should buy gold bars or coins, and not jewellery, as its depreciation value is higher. "The depreciation of gold jewellery is between 15 and 25 per cent, while for physical gold, it is between five and eight per cent."
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