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Gold prices are dropping, but why?

Gold prices just wrapped up their worst quarter - down 23 per cent - since at least 1920, according to Bloomberg News.

The shiny metal has lost its glow for now. So, what's going on with gold?

The decline "is feeding on itself," according to experts cited in this article at CNBC's Market Insider.

Writer Patti Domm quotes a list of those experts who note that factors affecting gold's decline include a slowdown in gold-buying by China and India, shattered confidence that gold's rise in value would continue unabated, and the failure of predictions, going back years, that inflation was about to take off.

Gold could fall below $US1,000 an ounce, according to an investment specialist who, it should be pointed out, has made financial bets that will pay off if gold continues to decline., a site from Investors Business Daily, includes the comment. But other experts estimate that since it costs about $US1,000 per ounce to mine gold, production would fall when the price hits that $US1,000 line, adding to factors that would keep the price from falling much further.

Dr Doom - famous economist Nouriel Roubini - added his voice to the gold trash-talkers early in June in an article carried by the United Kingdom's Guardian site.

"There are many reasons why the bubble has burst, and why gold prices are likely to move much lower, toward $1,000 by 2015," Roubini wrote.

In addition to the inflation factor, reasons for the fall, according to Roubini, include the factors that "unlike other assets, gold does not provide any income" and highly indebted countries may unload gold reserves to raise cash.

Investors should keep some small investments in gold, he said, but "gold remains John Maynard Keynes's 'barbarous relic,' with no intrinsic value and used mainly as a hedge against irrational fear and panic".

Not everyone agrees, to be sure.

Gold will climb "on the back of expansionary central bank policies," said a blog headline late in the week at, which - surprise - sells gold.

What drives gold prices up? A Investopedia article, posted while gold prices were about $US1,400 an ounce and rising in early 2011, reflects conditions at that time that have shifted since: central banks on gold-buying streaks, a weakening US dollar and high expectations for inflation were among those conditions.