Gold capped the biggest decline in almost two weeks after a drop in U.S. jobless claims signaled an improving outlook for economic growth and curbed demand for the precious metal as a haven asset.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments decreased by 5,000 to 330,000 in the week ended Jan. 19, the fewest since the same week in 2008, the Labor Department reported today. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
“The jobless claims are telling you to sell gold as the safe-haven premium is diminishing,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates, said in a telephone interview. “It seems as if the world economic conditions are improving.”
Gold futures for February delivery fell 1 percent to settle at $1,669.90 an ounce at 1:45 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest loss for a most-active contract since Jan. 11. Prices have erased this month’s gains.
Trading volume in New York was 46 percent higher than the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.
Silver futures for March delivery declined 2.2 percent to $31.772 an ounce, ending a seven-session rally and the longest winning streak since August 2011. Today’s drop was the biggest since Jan. 4.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery fell 0.5 percent to settle at $1,683.80 an ounce.
Palladium futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $726.70 an ounce on the Nymex, advancing for the second time in three days.