CHICAGO, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange ended lower Tuesday, as traders continued to await word about the fate of the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond-buying program.
The most active gold contract for February delivery fell 14.3 dollars, or 1.15 percent, to settle at 1,230.1 U.S. dollars per ounce. The decline followed two consecutive sessions of advances totaling 1.6 percent, as short-sellers covered their positions.
According to market analysts, the main questions will be whether and by how much the Fed will decide to reduce its bond- buying program, also known as quantitative easing. The odds of tapering have increased sharply following the release of mostly positive economic data of the U.S.
Gold investors are awaiting the announcement of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy arm, set for Wednesday.
Gold has tumbled 27 percent to date this year, heading for the first annual loss since 2000. Some investors have lost faith in the precious metal amid a U.S. equity record rally and speculation that the Fed will curb its 85 billion dollars in monthly bond purchases.
Silver for March delivery fell 26.1 cents, or 1.30 percent, to close at 19.840 dollars per ounce.