CHICAGO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped more than 3 percent on Thursday, marking the lowest close in more than three years following the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to taper its monthly asset purchases program.
The most active gold contract for February delivery fell 41.4 U. S. dollars, or 3.35 percent, to settle at 1,193.6 dollars per ounce. Gold futures prices touched intraday lows under the 1,200 dollars level for the first time since June.
Data from Chicago Mercantile Exchange shows that gold futures prices haven't closed at a level that low since Aug. 3, 2010. December gold, which is the front-month for gold futures, settled at 1,195.0 dollars Thursday.
Market analysts say the gold market now is so emotionally driven, even the smallest piece of news can cause big changes in investors' decision making. Strong gains in the U.S. dollar also put pressure on gold prices.
The U.S. dollar index rose to 80.602 from 80.477 late Wednesday after the Federal Reserve announced it would start tapering the quantitative easing by 10 billion dollars starting from January 2014.
Silver for March delivery fell 87.3 cents, or 4.35 percent, to close at 19.186 dollars per ounce.