CHICAGO, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell below 1,300 U.S. dollars per ounce Wednesday following Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's encouraging testimony before Congress.
The most active gold contract for June fell 19.7 dollars, or 1. 51 percent, to settle at 1288.9 dollars per ounce.
Fed Chairwoman Yellen's much-anticipated testimony before a joint Congressional committee revealed that the central bank's asset purchase program was on track to end in the fall if the U.S. economy stays on course.
Talks aimed at resolving the Ukraine-Russia conflict also pressured gold prices as Russian President Vladmir Putin made conciliatory overtures over the crisis in Ukraine.
However, data released by U.S. Department of Labor Wednesday helped slow gold's decline, as productivity of American businesses fell 1.7 percent from January through March, the hours worked climbed 2 percent, and the output of goods and services rose only 0.3 percent.
China Gold Association reported Wednesday that China's demand for gold bars fell nearly 44 percent to 67.95 tonnes in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period a year ago. But the association also said that China's total gold consumption increased 0.8 percent to 322.99 tonnes during this period, exerting little influence on gold.
Market analysts hold that traders are focusing on data for direction of gold prices in the short term, but maintain that gold will remain at or near 1,300 dollars in the near future.
Silver for July delivery lost 30.3 cents, or 1.54 percent, to close at 19.342 dollars per ounce, while platinum for July delivery declined 23.3 dollars, or 1.6 percent, to close at 1434.8 dollars per ounce.