Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday recorded the biggest one-day loss since Oct.1 over concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may decide to scale down bond purchases at its upcoming monetary policy meeting.
The most active gold contract for February delivery dropped 32. 3 dollars, or 2.57 percent, to settle at 1,224.9 dollars per ounce.
The Fed officials are scheduled to convene a pivotal meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. Market analysts hold that the chance for the Fed to decide to scale back its bond purchases at the meeting is very high. Given such expectation, the U.S. dollar rose Thursday, which was negative to gold.
Economic data released Thursday also supported the possibility of the Fed's scaledown of bond purchases. U.S. Department of Commerce reported Thursday that the country's overall retail sales climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November, the most since June, while the inventories at U.S. businesses rose 0.7 percent in October, well above market expectations.
The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending Dec.7 went up by 68,000 to 368,000, according to U.S. Labor Department data released Thursday. But economists believe that such volatility is normal if allowing for the holiday season.
Silver for March delivery lost 90.3 cents, or 4.44 percent, to close at 19.453 dollars per ounce. Platinum for January delivery slipped 20.8 dollars, or 1.5 percent, to close at 1,364.4 dollars per ounce.