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Thu 26 Dec 2013 10:04 AM

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Gold heading for biggest annual loss in three decades

Prices down by 30 percent in 2013

Gold heading for biggest annual loss in three decades
Gold bars

Gold drifted lower in thin year-end trade on Thursday as a rally in equities and a strong economic recovery in the United States dented its safe-haven appeal.

Gold is headed for a near 30 percent drop this year as the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to begin unwinding its stimulus measures, ending a 12-year rally that was prompted by rock bottom interest rates and monetary stimulus by global central banks.

Some of the key developments included:

* Spot gold had eased 0.2 percent to $1,201.71 an ounce by 0013 GMT. The decline this year is gold's biggest loss since 1981.

* Data on Friday showed that orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in November and a gauge of planned business spending on capital goods recorded its largest increase in nearly a year, pointing to sustained strength in the economy.

* Strong economic data prompted the Fed to announce last week that it would begin cutting back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases from January.

* U.S. shares edged higher into record territory on Tuesday before the Christmas holiday, while Japan's Nikkei share average hit a six-year closing high on Wednesday, supported by optimism over the global economy.

* Centerra Gold Inc said on Tuesday it has reached a non-binding agreement with the government of Kyrgyzstan that could pave the way for joint ownership of Kumtor, the country's flagship gold mine.

* Non-resident Indians are bringing gold into the country by taking advantage of rules that allow each individual to carry 1 kg of the metal, helping traders cope with restrictions on imports during the peak wedding season.

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