Gold futures fell Monday for the fourth time in five sessions as the dollar touched a five-year high, damping investor demand for the metal as a store of value.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose to 1,133.26, the highest since 2009, amid signs that the U.S. economy is improving. Holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by bullion fell 0.6 percent last week, extending a drop to the lowest since 2009. Futures trading was 45 percent below the 100-day average for this time of day, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Gold is headed for a second straight annual loss for the first time since 1998. Government data last week showed that the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in 10 years and claims for jobless insurance touched the lowest since early November, boosting speculation that the expansion is robust enough for the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates.
"Gold slipped on dollar strength combined with upbeat economic activity at the end of the year, and some gold bulls are giving up on their positions," Phil Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. "Gold prices are going to go a lot lower in 2015, especially once the first rate increase occurs."
Gold futures for February delivery slipped 1.1 percent to settle at $1,181.90 an ounce at 1:46 p.m. on the
Comex in New York. The price has fallen 1.7 percent in 2014, after tumbling 28 percent last year.
Strengthening physical demand may still provide support for prices, Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in an e-mail. China imported 149,257 kilograms of gold from Hong Kong in November, up 34 percent from the previous month, according to data today from the city's Census and Statistics Department.
Silver futures for March delivery retreated 2.3 percent to $15.779 an ounce on the Comex, the most in almost two weeks. The metal is down 19 percent for the year.
Platinum futures for April delivery fell 1.4 percent to $1,202.70 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Palladium futures for March delivery dropped 0.8 percent to $812 an ounce.