CHICAGO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell sharply Friday on stronger dollar and signs that the Federal Reserve may slow or stop quantitative easing in 2013.
The most active gold contract for February delivery lost 25.7 dollars, or 1.53 percent, to settle at 1,648.9 dollars per ounce.
Thus gold prices have ended the first week of 2013 with a loss of 0.4 percent.
Gold's going weak started Thursday when the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its December meeting, showing that some Federal Reserve officials thought the central bank would be able to slow or stop its bond purchases before December 2013.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, a gauge of the greenback against a basket of other currencies, climbed to 80.566 Friday from 80.477 Thursday. A stronger dollar tends to pressure gold.
Nevertheless, gold managed to stay above the session's low thanks to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report released by the U.S. Labor Department, which said the U.S. added 155,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in December, slightly lower than the 160,000 forecast.
Silver for March delivery dropped 77.4 cents, or 2.52 percent, to close at 29.946 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery lost 21.4 dollars, or 1.35 percent, to close at 1,558.5 dollars per ounce.