Gold futures tumble after Swiss reject gold referendum

Posted on at - Gold prices edged lower on Thursday, after Swiss voters voted against a proposal requiring the Swiss central bank to boost its gold reserves.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery fell by as much as 2.86% to touch a daily low of $1,141.80 a troy ounce, the weakest level since November 7, before recovering to last trade at $1,155.60 during European morning hours, down $19.90, or 1.69%.

Comex gold prices lost $22.00, or 1.84%, to settle at $1,175.50 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,130.40, the low from November 7, and resistance at $1,199.30, the high from November 28.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery tumbled 41.3 cents, or 2.65%, to trade at $15.14 a troy ounce. Prices hit $14.42 earlier in the day, a level not seen since August 2009. 

The "Save our Swiss gold" initiative was rejected by 77% of voters in a referendum held on Sunday. The proposal would have required the Swiss National Bank to hold at least 20% of its assets in the precious metal, up from around 8% currently.

Had the motion been passed, it would have led to purchases of at least 1,500 metric tons of bullion over five years. 

Gold prices are likely to remain vulnerable to further losses in the near-term amid indications a strengthening U.S. economic recovery will force the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates sooner and faster than previously thought.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.

Later in the day, the U.S. Institute of Supply Management was to release data on manufacturing activity.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for March delivery slumped 2.6 cents, or 0.93%, to trade at a five-year low of $2.818 a pound, as market players digested a pair of reports on Chinese November factory activity, which provided more evidence of a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

Official data released Monday showed that China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index slipped to an eight-month low of 50.3 this month, below expectations for a reading of 50.5 and down from 50.8 in October.

The China HSBC final manufacturing PMI hit a six-month low of 50.0 in November, unchanged from a preliminary estimate and down from 50.4 the previous month.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world 

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