Gold prices down despite upbeat US jobs numbers

Gold prices resumed their downward slide Wednesday, hitting a 5-month low, and is now within shouting distance of the psychologically important $1,200 level and the three-year low of $1,180, despite strong US jobs numbers.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery traded at $1,225.70 a troy ounce during morning trade, up 0.4%.

The precious metal has been under pressure as markets believe a recovering economy could prompt the Fed to slow the pace of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases as soon as December.

The market got its first taste of US jobs numbers today, with the November ADP non-farm payroll number coming in at 215,000 jobs added, easily beating the 172,000 forecast and the 184,000 reading in October, which was also revised upwards from 130,000.

Gold prices down despite upbeat US jobs numbersInvestors are waiting now for the US new home sales data due later Wednesday as well as a report from the Institute of Supply Management on services sector activity to further gauge the strength of the economy and the need for stimulus.

More US critical data is coming tomorrow, when the country releases third quarter gross domestic product.

The Federal Reserve, which holds its next meeting on December 17-18, has said the timing of its tapering depends on the health of the labour and housing markets.

Gold is down about 28% this year, heading for the first annual loss in 13 years, as solid U.S. economic data underlined expectations the Fed will begin curbing stimulus.