CHICAGO, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled slightly lower Tuesday, the last trading day of the year, which saw a 28 percent loss for the precious metal.
The most active gold contract for February delivery fell 1.5 U. S. dollars, or 0.12 percent, to settle at 1,202.3 dollars per ounce. This was 28 percent lower than the most active contract's close a year earlier, its first loss since 2000, and its worst loss in about three decades, FactSet data indicated.
For the month, gold futures fell 3.8 percent, the fourth straight monthly loss. For the fourth quarter, the precious metal lost 9 percent. According to market analysts, low inflation and expectation for the U.S. Federal Reserve to end its quantitative easing were two big factors driving down gold prices this year.
The fear of tapering and the spectacular performance of the equity market have worked against gold this year, analysts say. Investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value as equities rallied and an economic recovery prompted the U.S. Fed to pare its 85-billion-dollar monthly bond purchases.
Silver for March delivery fell 24.5 cents, or 1.25 percent, to close at 19.370 dollars per ounce.