Gold Futures Settle Sharply Lower As Dollar, Treasury Yields Rise

Gold prices plummeted and the most active gold futures contract posted its biggest single-session drop since November on Friday, as the dollar strengthened and benchmark treasury yields rose.

Optimism about economic recovery amid rollout of coronavirus vaccines and additional stimulus prompted investors to seek riskier assets.

The dollar index rose to 90.25, rebounding sharply from a low of 89.66 it touched early on in the day. It was last seen hovering around 90.20.

Gold futures for February ended down $78.20 or about 4.1% at $1,835.40 an ounce, the lowest settlement since mid-December.

In terms of percentage loss, gold futures suffered their biggest decline today since November 9.

Silver futures for March ended down $2.624 at $24.637 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled with a loss of $0.0225 at $3.6735 per pound.

On the political front, Democrats, who now have control over the U.S. Senate, have the chance to expand the scope of what Biden can achieve as part of his energy transition agenda from coronavirus relief to infrastructure spending.

In economic news,the Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment fell by 140,000 jobs in December after climbing by an upwardly revised 336,000 jobs in November.

The decline surprised economists, who had expected employment to increase by about 71,000 jobs compared to the addition of 245,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Employment decreased for the first time since April as the recent surge in coronavirus cases led to a nosedive in employment in the leisure and hospitality sector, which lost 498,000 jobs.

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