Gold futures declined for the third straight day as gains in the U.S. economy bolstered the case for higher interest rates.

Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the world™s biggest exchange-traded fund backed by the metal, tumbled 1.6 percent yesterday to 712.9 metric tons, the biggest drop since June 2013. That marked the lowest since September 2008. Futures fell 8.4 percent in the third quarter as the U.S. economy gathered momentum.

Gold slumped last month to a four-year low as the dollar™s rally against a basket of 10 currencies to a five-year high and a surge in equities cut demand for the metal as a store of value. Bullion headed for a consecutive annual loss for the first time since 1998. Jobless claims in the U.S. dropped to the fewest since early November, government data showed today.

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.4 percent to close at $1,173.50 an ounce at 12:36 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the lowest settlement since Nov. 13. Aggregate trading was 67 percent below the 100-day average for this time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the previous two days, the price declined 1.5 percent.

Silver futures for March delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $15.71 an ounce, the lowest settlement this month. In 2014, silver has tumbled 19 percent this year, and gold fell 2.4 percent.

Source : Bloomberg