CHICAGO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday dropped to the lowest level since Feb. 13.
The most active gold contract for April delivery dropped 24.8 dollars, or 1.86 percent, to settle at 1,311.2 dollars per ounce.
Market analysts cited profit-taking as a major factor behind gold price fall Monday. Gold has experienced a strong run and has gained roughly 9 percent so far this year, as against a 28-percent plunge in 2013, the biggest drop since 1984.
Investors are also betting on an interest-rate hike in U.S. as early as next year, which could boost dollar and dampen dollar- denominated gold.
Gold showed little reaction as economic data released Monday showed that the initial Markit purchasing managers index (PMI) for U.S. fell to 55.5 in March from 57.1 in February. Readings over 50 in PMI indicate growth.
Nevertheless, financial speculators remained bullish on gold outlook.
Silver for May delivery lost 24.3 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at 20.067 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery slipped 4.8 dollars, or 0.33 percent, to close at 1,431.2 dollars per ounce.