Gold futures declined for the third straight session on signs that Federal Reserve policy makers may end monthly purchases of U.S. debt this year.
The drop today followed the longest run of weekly declines since May 2004. On Jan. 3, minutes from the Fed showed $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, the third round of so-called quantitative easing, probably will end sometime in 2013. Gold gained 5.1 percent in September when the central bank announced the stimulus measures.
“The market is lackluster since people want some clarity from the Fed,” Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.2 percent to settle at $1,646.30 an ounce at 1:57 p.m. on the Comex in New York. On Jan. 4, the price touched $1,626, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 21. Last week, the metal dropped 0.4 percent, the sixth straight decline. In the previous two sessions, the commodity slumped 2.4 percent.
Fed Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said on Jan. 4 that further monetary stimulus is unlikely to boost economic growth and will “test the limits” of the central bank’s credibility. He speaks tomorrow in Columbia, South Carolina.
Silver futures for March delivery rose 0.5 percent to $30.082 an ounce.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery slipped 0.1 percent to settle at $1,556.30 an ounce. Palladium futures for March delivery slumped 2.7 percent to $670 an ounce, the biggest fall for a most-active contract since Oct. 23.