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Gold dips on Fed, copper down after Japan, China industrial looks

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Shutterstock photo - - Steady industrial figures out of Japan and China failed to lift copper in Asia on Monday, while gold prices dipped as all eyes turn to a widely expected Federal Reserve rate hike this week, which would be the first in nearly a decade.

Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 0.36% to 1.071.80 a troy ounce.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery gained 0.26% to $13.920 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for March delivery eased 0.03% to $2.111 a pound.

In Japan, the Tankan manufacturing index for large firms was steady at plus-12 for the fourth quarter, while the large non-manufacturing index dipped to plus-18 from plus-19. A positive figure indicates the majority of firms see better business conditions.

China on Saturday said that industrial production in November rose 6.2% year-on-year, while retail sales gained 11.2% and fixed investment increased 10.2%.

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.

All three economic indicators published by the National Bureau of Statistics beat estimates of economists, with industrial output growth standing out with a far better performance than expected.

After lending and imports topped forecasts earlier in the week, November has ended up offering some signs that the country's economic slowdown is stabilizing after the government's additional monetary and fiscal stimulus this year.

In the week ahead, investors will be focusing their attention on Wednesday's outcome of the final Fed meeting of 2015. U.S. economic reports on inflation, manufacturing activity and industrial production will also be closely watched ahead of the rate announcement.

Wednesday's survey data on euro zone private sector growth will be scrutinized by market watchers for signs of a recovery in the region.

On Monday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is to speak at an event in Italy.

Last week, gold fell to a one-week low on Friday, before turning higher in choppy trade as a broadly weaker U.S. dollar lifted prices, but gains were limited as market players prepared for the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 next week.

Gold futures are on track to post an annual decline of 9% in 2015, the third yearly loss in a row, as speculation over the timing of a Fed rate hike dominated market sentiment for most of the year.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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