On November 30, the Swiss voters will be asked whether the Swiss National Bank should build up its gold holdings from 8% to at least 20% of its total assets to backup the Swiss franc. That means the Swiss National Bank would have to sell foreign reserves, most likely euros, in order to buy at least 1,500 tons of gold, costing about US$ 57 billion at current prices.
The gold buying will not happen right away. The Swiss National Bank will have time until 2019 to meet the required threshold. If the gold referendum fails, there might be a sell off.
Russia's central bank has been forced to buy domestic gold production, as it is harder for Russian gold miners to sell abroad due to the sanctions, and to diversify its foreign reserves. In September alone, Russia bought 37 tons of gold worth some US$ 1.5 billion. That means the gold buying trend could continue until the sanctions are over.
ECB President Mario Draghi is now considering other unconventional measures to stimulate the economy, in additional to buying covered bonds and ABS, if the outlook worsens. Theoretically, ECB's endgame for full-blown monetization could include the purchase of virtually any asset class, including gold, to fight prolonged deflation in the Eurozone. This is a speculative theory at best.
As the Japanese economy goes into a tail spin and the yen is in a free fall, the currency traders are moving into “shorting yen and going long gold” positions. This could give some support to the gold price until the currency traders come up with a better idea about what to do with the flood of yen.
Typically, the Lunar New Year is the peak of the gold-buying season in China. This “Year of the Sheep” might be different, as the gold demand in China has contracted three consecutive quarters in a row.
From a technical viewpoint, however, a strong US dollar and a low inflation environment are keeping gold prices under pressure and hence it is still possible that the gold price could dip to ~US$ 1089 an ounce (50% Fibonacci Retracement). If the gold price drops below US$ 1000 an ounce, the central banks could step in and shift their policy from being net sellers to buyers, but there is no guarantee.
Also keep in mind that the ratio between paper gold, known as CME gold futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and physical gold could be at least 50 or as high as 100. It means that there are contracts worth 50 ounces or 100 ounces for every one ounce of actual physical gold in the COMEX warehouses. Thus, the volatility in gold prices could continue regardless of the backstop by the central banks around the world.