Investing.com - Gold prices struggled for direction in light pre-holiday trade on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the session for further indications on the strength of the economy.
Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 30 cents, or 0.03%, to trade at $1,073.80 a troy ounce during European morning hours. A day earlier, gold dipped $6.50, or 0.6%, snapping a two-day rally.
The U.S. is release a string of reports later Wednesday, including data on durable goods orders, personal spending, new home sales, consumer sentiment and crude oil inventories.
Data on Tuesday showed that the U.S. economy grew 2.0% in the third quarter, downwardly revised from a preliminary estimate of 2.1%, but above expectations for 1.9%.
A separate report said that existing home sales tumbled 10.5% to a 19-month low of 4.76 million units in November from 5.32 million a month earlier.
Trading volumes are expected to remain light as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing volatility. U.S. markets close early Thursday, Christmas Eve, and are shut Friday for Christmas Day.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.1% at 98.31, compared to last week's two-week high of 99.33.
Gold is on track to post an annual decline of 10% 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. Rising interest rates historically have been bad news for gold, which can't compete with the higher interest rates offered by other assets.
Meanwhile, silver futures for March delivery declined 4.9 cents, or 0.34%, to trade at $14.26 a troy ounce. Silver is on track to post an annual decline of 8% in 2015.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper traded near five-week highs amid speculation that Chinese producers will scale back production to combat falling prices.
Copper is on track to post an annual decline of 26% in 2015 as fears of a China-led global economic slowdown spooked traders and rattled sentiment. The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.
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