Twenty analysts surveyed by Bloomberg this week expect prices to fall next week, while 11 were bullish and three were neutral, making the proportion of bears the highest since Dec. 30, 2011. Hedge funds cut bets on higher prices by 56 percent since October and are approaching their least bullish stance on gold since August, government data show. The metal fell to a five-month low today, and billionaire investors George Soros and Louis Moore Bacon reported yesterday that they had reduced stakes in exchange-traded products backed by gold.
Hedge funds and other large speculators reduced net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options in the week ended Feb. 12 by 15 percent to 757,060 contracts, the largest decline since Nov. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Bets on higher gold prices fell to the lowest since December 2008, while a measure for 11 farm goods slumped the most since November 2011.