When treated as another global currency, gold’s performance over the past year looks truly dreadful. Measured on a relative basis versus the dollar, on a 12-month rolling basis, sterling has been the best performing major currency, adding over 6%, followed by the Swiss franc which is up 2.5%. In contrast, the Aussie dollar has been the major laggard, falling by over 12%, but even this is nothing compared to the 21% that gold has shed against the greenback on a relative basis. A series of fundamental issues have blighted the precious metal in that time. The economic slowdown in China, weak demand amid outflows from gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the impact of disinflation arising from slack in aggregate demand in developed economies, concerns over the end to US monetary stimulus and the relative strength of the dollar are all factors cited as reasons not to own gold. To be positive on former prime minister Gordon Brown’s ‘barbarous relic’ is a contrarian stance. Both Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse have recently re-affirming bearish targets for 2014. Yet gold is confounding the gloomy consensus. Since its $1,184.5 low on 31 December the commodity has risen by 10% in price. There is the danger this is just another bear market rally but some key technical signals suggest it may be worth backing gold once more.