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The majority of participants in the weekly Kitco News gold survey believe gold prices will rise next week, despite today's setback amid concerns the U.S. Fed will withdrawal from its bond buying program before the end of the year.

In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 33 participants, 20 responded this week. Of those 20 participants, 12 see prices up, while seven see prices down, and one is sees prices moving sideways. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders, money managers and technical-chart analysts.

Those who see higher prices point to the underlying theme that has supported gold prices, which is loose monetary policy by global central banks.

"I'm bullish as global uncertainties and continued (lowering) of the value in currencies from central banks around the world," said Rich DeFalco, principal of 76 Capital Partners.

Many of those who see weaker prices said gold is going to still reel from the surprising news out of the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes that showed policy-makers could end monthly purchases of U.S. debt by the end of this year. Several suggested this will weigh on gold for some time, with at least one saying this may have changed the trend.

Adam Klopfeinstein, market strategist with Archer Financial Services, said he's short gold. "Big liquidation here and I don't mean my blender," he said, adding that he expects prices to fall under $1,600 an ounce.

The person who sees prices trading sideways said much depends on how the market closes today.

Gold prices in afternoon trading in New York were down 1.6 per cent at $1,647 (U.S.) an ounce, but prices were down more than 3 per cent early this morning on worries the Fed's withdrawal of monetary stimulus could come sooner than many expected and calm any inflationary fears.

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