Top commodities analysts are predicting that gold prices will likely peak in 2013, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, strategists at firms like Morgan Stanley (MS) are pointing to the precious metal as a top investment pick for the year.

Analysts with Danske Bank and Credit Suisse Group see gold prices topping out in 2013, while UniCredit says that its price should continue on a its upward trajectory; it’s been on a 12-year bull market and has risen sixfold during this period.

The precious metal could average $1,720 an ounce this year and $1,600 in 2014, Christin Tuxen of Danske Bank in Copenhagen, told Bloomberg on Tuesday. Tom Kendall at Credit Suisse in London expects $1,740 and $1,720, while Jochen Hitzfeld of UniCredit in Munich predicts $1,700 and $1,800, the news service says.

Other analysts, including those with Morgan Stanley, point to central-bank stimulus as continuing the drive for investors to buy gold as a hedge against inflation and currency devaluation.

“With regard to gold, the accommodative policy stance of the world’s major central banks seems likely to continue to fuel concerns about future inflation and currency debasement. This, in turn, should spur investment demand for gold,” wrote the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Global Investment Committee in its January report released last week.

“We also note that previous rounds of QE appear to have given a lift to commodities, particularly gold and other precious metals; QE3 should do the same,” the report noted.

Gold prices have weakened in the past few months as pressure related to the debt crisis in Europe retreated somewhat and the expectation of further stimulus action in both the United States and China waned.

Still, the top six gold and precious-metals analysts, as measured by data tracked by Bloomberg, remain bullish for 2013. Their median forecast for is for the precious metal to hit $1,997.50 by December.

For the week ending Jan. 11, spot gold rose more than 0.4% to close at $1,662.80, up 7.15 per ounce.

According to U.S. Global Investors, a recent London Bullion Market Association poll of traders and analysts revealed their expectation that gold could climb as much as 14% this year; these poll respondents forecast an average price of $1,753 an ounce in 2013.