Gold futures fell on Wednesday during Asian trading hours after U.S. retail sales figures beat expectations for December and bolstered expectations for the Federal Reserve to continue scaling back its USD75 billion monthly bond-buying program, which supports gold by weakening the dollar.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery traded at USD1,243.30 a troy ounce during Asian trading, down 0.07%. On Tuesday it saw a session low of USD1,242.80 and a high of 1,244.90. The February contract settled at USD1,244.10 on Tuesday.

Futures were likely to find support at USD1,217.80 a troy ounce, Wednesday''s low, and resistance at USD1,267.30, the high from Dec. 10.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. retail sales rose 0.2% in December, beating expectations for a 0.1% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, expanded by 0.7% in December, well above forecasts for a 0.4% increase.

The news sparked demand for the dollar by cementing expectations for the Federal Reserve to continue scaling back its USD75 billion bond-buying program this year.

Fed asset purchases soften the greenback by depressing long-term interest rates to encourage investing and hiring.

Gold and the dollar tend to trade inversely with one another.

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said monetary authorities should wind down asset purchases as fast as possible to stave off inflationary pressures.

"I would vote for continued reductions in our asset purchases, with an eye toward eliminating them entirely at the earliest practicable date," he said in a speech on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, silver for March delivery was down 0.09% and trading at USD20.228 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery were down 0.07% and trading at USD3.332 a pou

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