Gold price crashes through $1,700 after US jobs report

The price of December gold plummeted by more than $20 an ounce within minutes, crashing through the psychologically important $1,700 level on Friday after data showed a much better than expected increase in the number of US jobs created in October.

The precious metal continued to weaken throughout the session and after touching a low of $1,675, gold futures settled at $1,678, down $37 or 2.1% on the day.

Gold has now lost 6.5% or more than $110 of its value over the past month as continuing good economic news out of the US boosts the dollar and diminishes gold's allure as an inflation hedge and storer of wealth.

The jobs report may mean that the Federal Reserve will end its QE program to keep interest rates low and flood markets with cheap money sooner rather than later.

The employment data is also the final chance voters have to assess Barack Obama's record on the economy before next week's US presidential election.

The outcome of the vote could have a big impact on gold – most analysts believe a win by Republican challenger Mitt Romney could spell disaster for the fortunes of the yellow metal.