Investing.com - Gold and silver prices fell sharply on Thursday, after data showed that the U.S. economy expanded in line with expectations in the final three months of 2013, underlining optimism over the strength of the economy.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery fell to a session low of USD1,241.70 a troy ounce, the weakest since January 23, before trimming losses to trade at USD1,242.90 during U.S. morning hours, down 1.55%.
The April contract settled 0.94% higher on Wednesday to end at USD1,262.20 an ounce. Gold futures were likely to find support at USD1,231.30 a troy ounce, the low from January 23 and resistance at USD1,270.10, the high from January 29.
Meanwhile, silver for March delivery slumped to USD18.99 a troy ounce, the weakest level since December 31, before trimming losses to trade at USD19.05, down 2.55%.
The Commerce Department said U.S. gross domestic product grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter, meeting expectations.
The data showed personal consumption grew 3.3% in the three months ended December 31, the biggest increase in three years. Consumer spending typically accounts for nearly 70% of U.S. economic growth.
A separate report showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose to a six-week high of 348,000, an increase of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 329,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 1,000 to 330,000 last week.
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it will keep a close eye on economic indicators before deciding to wind down its stimulus program even further.
The central bank said it would reduce its monthly bond buying program by USD10 billion to a total of USD65 billion a month, in a widely anticipated decision on Wednesday.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for March delivery fell 0.5% to trade at USD3.225 a pound, the lowest since December 6.
Data released earlier showed that China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index fell to a six-month low of 49.5 in January from a preliminary reading of 49.6 and down from 50.5 in December.
China is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
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