Silver prices fell sharply on Thursday, as investors looked ahead to U.S. retail sales and jobless claims data due later in the day to further gauge the strength of the economy and the need for stimulus.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, silver futures for March delivery traded at USD19.93 a troy ounce during European morning trade, down 2.1%. Comex silver prices traded in a range between USD19.90 a troy ounce and USD20.34.
Futures were likely to find support at USD19.74 a troy ounce, the low from December 10 and resistance at USD20.48, the high from December 11.
The March contract rallied to USD20.48 a troy ounce on Wednesday, the highest since November 20, before trimming gains to settle at USD20.35, up 0.2%.
Speculation that the Federal Reserve will start to taper its USD85-billion-a-month bond-buying program at next week’s policy meeting mounted after a bipartisan budget deal from Congress eliminated the possibility of a potential U.S. government shutdown, which was scheduled to start on January 15.
The Fed is scheduled to meet December 17-18 to review the economy and assess monetary policy.
Silver is down approximately 34% this year as solid U.S. economic data underlined expectations the Fed will begin curbing stimulus.
Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for February delivery tumbled 1.2% to trade at USD1,241.80 a troy ounce, while copper for March delivery inched up 0.05% to trade at USD3.297 a pound.
Copper traders awaited updates from China’s annual Central Economic Work Conference, which began on Tuesday, where policymakers will set economic growth targets and policy priorities for 2014.
The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
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