Gold prices are still far from last year's record $1,920.30 an ounce.
Given the economic volatility in 2011, last year was a banner year for gold prices. Fears of global market turmoil helped push the yellow metal to record highs.
While the long-term bullish outlook for gold remains, short-term pressures have halted its steady climb.
"Gold has found more support recently, but it doesn't have all of the catalysts in place to be driven substantially higher yet," Suki Cooper, an analyst at Barclays Capital, told Reuters.
Here's why this dip isn't the start of a bearish gold year. Instead, it's a chance to stock up before gold prices head to $2,000 an ounce. (Want to know the best way to profit from soaring gold prices this year? Take a look at our latest special report today. It shows you how to get daily market information and specific recommendations in gold… silver… penny stocks… Asia… and biotech, to name just a few. Find the report right here.)
The Fed, India, and Gold Prices
For the next three months, the U.S. Federal Reserve is focused on a stabilizing U.S. economy and low inflation. In fact, the Fed's most recent forecast cooled talk of more monetary stimulus (or "quantitative easing").
The Fed expects U.S. economic growth to progress at a steady pace throughout the quarter. With moderate expansion rather than rapid growth or deflation, there's no need to curb borrowing, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke plans to keep interest rates near zero.
This bodes well for the U.S. dollar, and what's good for the dollar is often bad for gold prices.
It's no secret that a weakened dollar sends investors running to the real value of hard commodities. A stronger dollar does the inverse: It causes the big investors to be less cautious with regard to investments in liquid capital, creating a dip in gold prices.