Gold fu­tures fall, cap­ping a sec­ond year of losses


The metal fell to­day as the dol­lar gained, re­duc­ing the ap­peal for bul­lion as an al­ter­na­tive as­set. Bul­lion closed down 1.5 per­cent for 2014, com­pared with an av­er­age an­nual move of 12 per­cent in the past 14 years. Prices touched a four-year low last month as eq­ui­ties ral­lied and in­vestors spec­u­lated that the Fed­eral Re­serve is pre­par­ing to raise in­ter­est rates.

"Gold has had sev­eral prob­lems," George Gero, a pre­cious met­als strate­gist at RBC Cap­i­tal Mar­kets in New York, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. "The im­prov­ing U.S. econ­omy, the con­tin­ued bet­ter la­bor pic­ture, the lack of in­fla­tion, very strong stocks and the very strong dol­lar weighed on gold this year."

Gold fu­tures for Fe­bru­ary de­liv­ery fell 1.4 per­cent to set­tle at $1,184.10 an ounce at 1:53 p.m. an ounce on the Comex in New York. The metal rose 1.6 per­cent yes­ter­day and briefly erased de­clines for the year.

In­vestors cut hold­ings in the big­gest ex­change-traded prod­uct backed by bul­lion by 11 per­cent this year, after a 41 per­cent re­duc­tion in 2013. As­sets in the SPDR Gold Trust dropped 0.2 per­cent yes­ter­day to 710.81 metric tons, the low­est since Septem­ber 2008, data com­piled by Bloomberg show.

While So­ci­ete Gen­erale SA, Gold­man Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG are among banks see­ing fur­ther losses, Aus­tralia & New Zealand Bank­ing Group Ltd. joined TD Se­cu­ri­ties Ltd. this month in call­ing for a re­bound in gold prices in 2015. Chi­nese phys­i­cal de­mand may re­turn in 2015 after stock­piles are run down, ANZ said on Dec. 17. Re­newed eco­nomic con­cerns in Europe as Greece holds snap elec­tions in early 2015 may also bol­ster de­mand for gold as a haven, said Adrian Day, the pres­i­dent of Adrian Day As­set Man­age­ment in An­napo­lis, Maryland. "A grow­ing cri­sis in Greece and weak­ness in global eq­ui­ties will likely con­tinue, and that will boost gold," Day said by e-mail. "Greece will dom­i­nate the dol­lar as a driver of gold." Sil­ver fu­tures for March de­liv­ery fell 4.2 per­cent to $15.599 an ounce on the Comex, down 19 per­cent for 2014. The metal has been hurt by con­cern that slow­ing global growth will cut in­dus­trial us­age. Prices dropped 36 per­cent last year. Plat­inum fu­tures for April de­liv­ery fell 0.8 per­cent to $1,209.50 an ounce on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change, cap­ping a 12 per­cent de­cline this year.

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