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Gold on track to record third-straight annual loss

Gold prices were mostly trading in negative territory Wednesday morning in the U.S. amid light volumes and weak oil prices.

February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was last down $6.60 or 0.6% to $1,061.40 per ounce. Trade has ranged from $1,060.10 to $1,071.50.

The precious metal had finished lower on Tuesday, after strong U.S. consumer confidence data bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve to raise rates at a faster clip. Gold, which does not yield interest to its holders, struggles to compete with other investments when borrowing costs rise.

Those two factors, a strong dollar and rising U.S. interest rates, are expected to weigh on gold next year. With gold prices down roughly 10%, the precious metal is on track to record its third-straight annual loss, the first time it has posted a triple-loss streak since 1998.

Gold probably will end the year somewhere between $1,060 and $1,085, Alex Thorndike, senior precious metals dealer with MKS (Switzerland) SA, told Kitco News:

“We are still cautious of choppy and illiquid conditions as there is very little depth in this market at present and could be subject to being pushed around,” he said. “We suspect we will see an accumulation of interest next week with January historically being generally a positive month for gold. So for now we look to buy dips.”

Among the other precious metals, spot silver was down 0.57% at $13.88 an ounce and spot platinum fell 0.19% at $887.27 an ounce, while palladium was up 0.04% at $554.00 an ounce.