Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange plummeted Friday, as better than expected U.S. jobs data and a rise in the U.S. dollar pressured the precious metal.
The most active gold contract for December delivery sharply fell 40.3 dollars, or 2.35 percent, to settle at 1,675.2 dollars per ounce.
Gold fell to close below the key 1,700 dollars an ounce trading level Monday, settling at its lowest level since August. Gold has now posted weekly losses for four consecutive weeks.
Putting the most pressure on the precious metal was employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor, which showed that the U.S. added 171,000 jobs in October. While the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent, the number of jobs added exceeded analysts'expectations, and painted a brighter picture of the recovering U.S. economy.
The U.S. jobs data was negative for gold, as the high unemployment rate has been one of the primary factors for the U.S. Federal Reserve to continue its quantitative easing policies. Economic stimulus measures are support to the precious metal as gold traditionally rises on fears of inflation, and news of improving U.S. employment could signal an end to the Fed's quantitative easing policies.
The better than expected U.S. jobs data also led to a sharp rise in the dollar, which further pressured gold. A stronger greenback is a negative force for commodities, as it makes them more expensive to holders of other currencies.
Other outside market forces were similarly negative, with crude oil losing more than two percent on the session, and U.S. equities also sharply down with investor uncertainty before the U.S. election.
Silver for December delivery sharply fell 1.391 dollars, or 4. 31 percent, to close at 30.857 dollars per ounce.