Gold rose in 2008 while the prices of commodities from oil to copper to grains fell drastically, but massive state spending to revive economies has sparked hopes for a recovery next year.
It was the year of the credit crunch, born out of the home mortgage crisis in the United States, spreading across the globe to curtail economic growth, decimate demand and spawn the biggest financial meltdown in some 80 years.
Gold, sought as a safe haven during times of risk, a hedge against inflation and for use in jewelry, rose on Wednesday and was one of the few commodities to finish higher year-on-year.
"Gold is the only (metal) that has been up this year," said Nick Moore, commodity strategist at RBS Global Banking & Markets. "It has been a fantastic performance for gold."
Bullion rose on Wednesday despite the strong dollar, which marked its first yearly gain against the euro since 2005.