Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Gold futures fell for the fourth time in five sessions after a report showed U.S. jobless claims dropped unexpectedly, boosting speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus soon.
First-time claims declined to 305,000 in the week ended Sept. 21, the Labor Department said. The median of 49 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase to 325,000. The U.S. economy expanded at a faster pace in the second quarter, government data showed today. Earlier, gold rose as much as 0.3 percent as U.S. budget negotiations dragged on.
“The jobs data is decent, and worries about tapering are back,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “The gold market has become very sensitive to U.S. data.”
Gold futures for December delivery fell 0.9 percent to settle at $1,324.10 an ounce at 1:38 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price has dropped 21 percent this year.
Twenty-four of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News last week said the Fed will scale back stimulus in December. Gold surged 70 percent from the end of December 2008 to June 2011 as the Fed pumped more than $2 trillion into the financial system by purchasing debt.
The precious metal has climbed 8.2 percent in the third quarter, partly because of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Syria and a jump in demand for jewelry and coins after the price dropped to a 34-month low in late June.
Silver futures for December delivery fell 0.5 percent to $21.766 an ounce. The metal has dropped 28 percent this year.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for January delivery slipped 1.2 percent to $1,414.70 an ounce. Palladium futures for December delivery declined 0.3 percent to $723.45 an ounce.
--Editors: Millie Munshi, Thomas Galatola