CHICAGO, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell sharply on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar showed strength, with the index reaching its highest year-end level since 2005.
The most active gold contract for February delivery dropped 16. 3 U.S. dollars, or 1.36 percent, to settle at 1,184.10 dollars per ounce.
Gold fell as the Dollar Index Spot rose by 0.31 percent to 90. 2730 on Wednesday, and is on track to remain at its highest year- end level since 2005. The index is a measure of the U.S. dollar against a basket of major currencies. Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions.
The precious metal was under further pressure as oil lost two percent Wednesday. WTI Crude Oil shed 2.01 percent to 53.03. Some analysts believe oil is headed for its worst price drop since 2008, which would put additional pressure on gold.
Gold's fall was capped by a report from the U.S. Department of Labor released Wednesday which showed an increase of 17,000 in initial jobless claims during the Dec. 27 week to 298,000 claims. However, analysts believe this report showed some strength, as the four-week average remains 10,000 lower than a month ago.
Silver for March delivery lost 67.7 cents, or 4.16 percent, to close at 15.599 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery lost 9.8 dollars, or 0.80 percent, to close at 1,209.50 dollars per ounce.