A slowdown in China’s manufacturing helped push down prices for copper and other metals Thursday.
Indications that some policymakers at the Federal Reserve may consider raising interest rates sooner than previously expected also sent metals prices lower.
Higher interest rates tend to push the value of the dollar higher and some metals prices lower. One reason investors buy gold and silver is fear that the dollar will weaken. Higher interest rates make that less likely to happen.
The actively traded April contract for gold fell $3.50, or 0.3 percent, to $1,316.90 an ounce. Silver for March delivery lost 17 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $21.68 an ounce. March copper fell less than a penny, or 0.2 percent, to $3.28 a pound Thursday.
Platinum for April delivery fell $12, or 0.8 percent, to $1,412.50 an ounce. Palladium rose 90 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $736.30 an ounce.
Agricultural contracts were mixed. Wheat for March delivery fell four cents, or 0.6 percent, to $6.1625 a bushel. Corn for March delivery rose two cents, or 0.4 percent, to $4.5575 a bushel and soybeans for the same month rose 5.75 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $13.4775 a bushel.
Coffee beans, which had surged the previous two days on concerns about dry weather conditions in Brazil, which could hurt the crop there, edged down 3 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $1.69 a pound.
Wholesale coffee beans have surged 24 percent in the past 10 days on those concerns. They cost just $1.36 a pound on Feb. 10.
Crude oil fell back below $103 a barrel. U.S. crude for March delivery, the front-month contract, fell 39 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $102.92 a barrel.
March natural gas fell 8.5 cents to $6.064 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In other March contracts, wholesale gasoline rose 2.2 cents to close at $2.847 a gallon and heating oil rose 3.1 cents to close at $3.178 a gallon.