I think the Wall Street Journal's story is the reason gold has dropped below $1,300 today.
It's certainly not the Ukraine, where the situation is heating up. Sure, the US dollar is bouncing from support, and that generally weighs on gold (though it didn't yesterday, when both gold and the dollar went higher).
But the Wall Street Journal makes the bearish case very strongly.
China's appetite for gold is waning after a decade-long buying spree, suppressed by the country's economic slowdown and constrained credit markets.
Demand in the world's biggest gold consumer is likely to stay flat in 2014, according to estimates from the World Gold Council. Gold demand in China has expanded every year since 2002, when it declined, according to the industry group, whose forecasts are closely watched in the gold market.
"We're looking at best for it to be on par with 2013," said Albert Cheng, managing director for the Far East at the World Gold Council. The council is releasing its latest report on China's gold market Tuesday.
Although the report doesn't offer a figure for estimated Chinese gold demand this year, it says 2014 will be a year of consolidation.
"Chinese consumers brought forward jewelry and bar purchases, which may limit growth in demand in 2014," the report said.
Mr. Cheng pegs China's private-sector gold consumption, a category that includes jewelry, bullion and industrial demand, to remain roughly at 2013's level of 1,187 metric tons.
There is a lot more to the story. But the clincher is these two paragraphs:
There was little activity visible on Monday at Chenghuang Jewelry, a store located just outside Yuyuan Gardens, a popular tourist attraction in Shanghai that is home to throngs of jewelry merchants. Sales associates stood around chatting, while a handful of customers perused wedding jewelry and gemstones. No customers were at the counter dedicated to gold-bar purchases.
"We're not seeing the kind of crazy buying we saw last year," said store manager Karone Huang. Last year, "we couldn't even fill our orders fast enough. That's how busy we were."
To be sure, the Wall Street Journal does have one bullish paragraph: