Mild price rises were forecast for precious metals by the end of this year in a poll of market analysts conducted this week. The poll showed a mean gold price of US$355.50 at year-end, against a $330-to-$380 range, more than the second and third-quarter means of $345.80 and $350. An E.W. Balderson analyst in South Africa said: 'The gold price is so low that the fundamentals are quite good. The problem is that the market is so nervous at the moment. Any statement coming out of any central bank will see a bearish mood.'