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People clear snow from around their cars on a street in Montreal Sunday, December 22, 2013, as a winter storm warning has been issued for the region.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Wondering why gold is having such a strong start to the year? Blame it on the weather.

Of course, there is no direct connection between gold and unusually cold winter conditions (unless you happen to believe this is the start of an ice age that will bury the world's cities beneath a mile of snow, and gold – along with sled dogs – will form the basis of a new monetary system.)

However, indirectly, there is a connection. A number of observers believe that the cold winter is largely to blame for a round of disappointing economic data, including reports on manufacturing and monthly payrolls. And these disappointments have fed into a belief that the Federal Reserve could delay or slow its tapering of bond purchases. Since stimulus helped drive gold up in the first place, anything that keeps stimulus in place longer should provide some support for the price of gold.

As Tom Pugh from Capital Economics explains: "Of course, the main driver has been a revival of safe-haven demand triggered by the turmoil in emerging markets. But the adverse weather is probably the biggest single factor behind the recent run of disappointingly weak U.S. economic data, which in turn has encouraged speculation that the Fed will keep monetary policy loose for longer, driving down bond yields and weakening the dollar (all positives for gold)."

My colleague Scott Barlow has more on the price of gold and its connection to bond yields here. And the impact goes beyond the price of gold: Gold producers, he pointed out, form six of the top 10 movers in the S&P/TSX composite index this year.

But if warmer weather ever arrives, and U.S. economic data springs back to fine form, look out.