Gold and silver prices extended losses from the previous session on Wednesday, as investors speculated the U.S. economy will be strong enough to allow the Federal Reserve to continue withdrawing support through 2014.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for March delivery traded at USD1,225.40 a troy ounce during European morning trade, down 0.35%. Gold prices held in a tight range between USD1,224.90 a troy ounce and USD1,231.70 a troy ounce.

The March contract settled 0.68% lower on Tuesday to end at USD1,229.90 a troy ounce. Futures were likely to find support at USD1,212.60 a troy ounce, the low from January 6 and resistance at USD1,247.70, the high from January 6.

Meanwhile, silver for March delivery dropped 1% to trade at USD19.58 a troy ounce, the lowest since January 2. The March contract ended Tuesday’s session with a loss of 1.57% to settle at USD19.78 a troy ounce.

Tuesday’s losses came after data showed that the U.S. trade deficit shrank to the lowest level in four years in November, as exports to China rose to a record high.

Investors were now turning their attention to the minutes of the Fed’s December meeting, due for release later Wednesday, for indications on the possible timing of further reductions in the central bank’s stimulus program.

Gold traders were also awaiting the release of the ADP report on private sector job creation later in the day, a key indicator ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report, for indications of the strength of the recovery in the labor market.

The Fed will reduce its bond-buying program by USD10 billion a month starting in January. Some market participants believe the central bank will likely taper its bond purchases by USD10 billion in each of its next seven meetings before ending the program in December 2014, amid indications of an improving U.S. economy.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for March delivery inched up 0.2% to trade at USD3.365 a pound.

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