Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell below the key 1,300 U.S. dollars an ounce mark on Tuesday, on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back its monthly bond purchases. The most active gold contract for December delivery fell 19.9 dollars, or 1.53 percent, to settle at 1,282.5 dollars per ounce. According to MarketWatch statistics, Tuesday\'s decline is the sixth in a row. Market analysts say, the downward pressure in gold\'s trading is testament to the belief that tapering is likely to start sooner rather than later, since stimulus efforts by the Fed, which include 85 billion U.S. dollars in monthly asset purchases, have been seen as supportive for gold prices. Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans said that the Fed is \" quite likely\" to begin slowing the pace of its monthly bond buys later this year, since the economic situation has already shown improvement, according to reports. Meanwhile, Atlanta Fed Bank President Dennis Lockhart said, a step down in Fed\'s asset purchases could be announced at any of this year\'s remaining policy meetings, including in October. However, the World Gold Council said gold prices are at a bottom, not a top, which means gold prices are to rise. Against this background, silver for September delivery fell 19. 7 cents, or 1.0 percent, to close at 19.523 dollars per ounce.