Gold and silver settled lower Thursday, on expectations that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates next year.
The contract for gold in April fell $10.80 to settle at $1,330.50 an ounce. Silver for May delivery lost 40 cents, or 2 percent, to $20.43 an ounce.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the central bank’s support program for the economy will likely end later this year, and that a move to raise short-term rates could happen six months later. Higher interest rates, which lower the risk of inflation, diminish the appeal of buying gold and other precious metals as investments.
Other metals ended mixed. Copper for May sank 6 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.93 a pound. April platinum fell $16.90 to $1,434.80 an ounce. June palladium rose $3.45 to $771.65 an ounce.
In other trading, wheat for May fell 12 cents to $7.04 a bushel.
Corn for delivery in the same month slipped 9 cents to $4.79 a bushel, and soybeans for May rose 3 cents to $14.34 a bushel.
In oil and gas trading:
- Benchmark crude oil fell 94 cents to close at $99.43 a barrel.
- Heating oil rose 2 cents to $2.92 a gallon.
- Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $2.90 a gallon.
- Natural gas fell 12 cents to $4.37 per 1,000 cubic feet.