* Silver to reach $38.40/oz within next year
* Platinum to hit $1,749.9/oz
* Palladium to hit $724.7/oz
HONG KONG, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Participants in an annual gathering of the London Bullion Metal Association on Tuesday expected gold to reach $1,843 an ounce by the time of the next conference in September 2013, and forecast silver to reach $38.40.
The 700-strong crowd cut its gold forecast from $1,914 an ounce on Monday, after listening to the comments of a parade of speakers, including miners, refineries, jewellers and bankers over the two-day conference on the precious metals market.
“This year I sensed that the bullishness has moderated and there is less conviction,” said Tom Kendall, head of precious metals research at Credit Suisse, comparing the mood of the gathering with last year’s.
The forecast rise of 6.7 percent in the price of gold is based on expectations for growing demand in Asia, particularly China, as well as a continuation of the easy monetary policy of the United States.
Gold hit a record above $1,920 in September 2011, and posted growth of 10 percent for the whole year, which was its 11th consecutive year of rise.
On Tuesday, the precious metal slipped in thin trade after the euro dropped to a two-month low against the U.S. dollar and as uncertainty about another tranche of financial aid for Greece kept investors cautious.
Gold fell $1.23 to $1,726.51 an ounce by 0954 GMT, down from Friday’s 3-week high around $1,738. Despite the recent fall, gold is still up around 10 percent so far this year.
Conference participants also expected platinum to reach $1,794.9 an ounce on supply concerns as labour unrest has swept the mining sector this year in South Africa, the world’s top platinum producer.
Palladium is expected to reach $724.7 an ounce, compared to a current price around $609.
On other topics relevant to the gold market, just over half of the participants expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to launch another round of quantitative easing, and 56 percent of them see China’s economy growing between 7 and 8 percent in 2013.
China is expected to overtake India as the world’s top gold consumer, as demand in that country has been resilient, although the pace has slowed from the past couple of years.
Thirty-six percent of conference participants expect Shanghai to become Asia’s precious metals trading hub in the next year, topping Hong Kong and Singapore, which are vying for the position.
Singapore recently scrapped a sales tax of 7 percent on investment-grade gold, and has attracted a number of gold industry players to set up shop in the city-state.
Switzerland-based Metalor Technologies SA plans to build a refinery in Singapore with an annual capacity of 100 tonnes, and South Africa-based Rand Refinery is building an assaying and sampling facility there.
A poll showed the majority of the participants believe there should be an Asia fixing price, besides the London fixing prices the global over-the-counter market trades around.
With an Asia fixing, the region could become a dominant hub for precious metals trading, conference participants said. (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)