Gold Bulls Strongest Since August as Funds Retreat

Gold traders are the most bullish in four months as U.S. lawmakers near a deadline for budget talks, at a time when hedge funds are cutting bets on higher prices.

Fifteen of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to rise next week and one was bearish. A further three were neutral, making the proportion of bulls the highest since Aug. 24. Investors bought 60 percent more this year through gold- backedexchange-traded products compared with 2011, boosting holdings to a record on Dec. 20 and which are now valued at $140.5 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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Bullion is headed for a 12th consecutive annual gain, the longest run in at least nine decades, as central banks from Europe to China pledge more steps to spur economic growth. Hedge funds that were the most bullish in 13 months in October have since pared wagers by 43 percent as lawmakers failed to agree on a deal to avert more than $600 billion of automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to start next month.


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