Gold prices fell in early Asian trade on Thursday, continuing declines seen overnight after the Federal Reserve said in the minutes of its October policy meeting that it could begin tapering asset purchases in the coming months.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery traded at USD1,245.70 a troy ounce, down 0.98%, in a range of 1,241.70 - 1,246.90. Overnight, gold prices hit a session low of USD1,240.30 a troy ounce and high of USD1,275.70 a troy ounce.
On the horizon Thursday in Asia is the closely watched HSBC November flash purchasing managers index for China, forecast to come out at 50.8, easing from 50.9 for the final in October at 0945 local time (0145 GMT). China and India are the world's top gold importers.
Also ahead is a Bank of Japan policy announcement at 1230 local time (0330 GMT) with the benchmark rate forecast stable at 0.10%. BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference at 1530 local time (0630 GMT).
In the U.S. a decision to taper the pace of assets will come when economic indicators point to an economy that is clearly gaining steam, and although monetary authorities did not suggest when that time may arrive, metals markets felt it will come soon.
"During this general discussion of policy strategy and tactics, participants reviewed issues specific to the Committee's asset purchase program. They generally expected that the data would prove consistent with the Committee's outlook for ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and would thus warrant trimming the pace of purchases in coming months," the minutes read.
Elsewhere, the U.S. Commerce Department reported earlier that retail sales expanded 0.4% in October, blowing past expectations for a 0.1% gain after coming in flat the month earlier.
The data fueled optimism that the consumer-driven U.S. economy is on the mend and may keep the Federal Reserve on track to begin winding down stimulus measures in early 2014.
On Thursday, the U.S. is release data on producer price inflation, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims. The U.S. is also to release data manufacturing activity from the Philly Fed. - investing.com