Gold and silver futures fell sharply on Thursday as a budget deal and a brighter outlook on the U.S. economy appeared to strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to start easing back on its stimulus.
Gold slumped $32.30, or 2.6 percent, to $1,224.90 an ounce. Silver slid 90.3 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $19.453 an ounce.
Investors interpreted the budget agreement, as well as encouraging reports on retail sales and unemployment claims, as increasing the likelihood that the Fed will reduce its bond purchases.
Gold, which traders see as a hedge against inflation and a weaker U.S. dollar, has been falling as the prospect of a wind-down in the Fed's program has become more likely.
January platinum fell $20.80, or 1.5 percent, to $1,364.40 an ounce and palladium for March delivery fell $18.30, or 2.5 percent, to $720.25 an ounce.
Copper for March delivery was flat at $3.2955 a pound.
Crude oil edged up 6 cents to $97.50 a barrel.
In other energy trading, heating oil fell 4 cents to $2.98 a gallon and natural gas rose 7.2 cents to $4.409 per 1,000 cubic feet. January gasoline fell 3 cents to $2.63 a gallon.
Crop prices fell.
March wheat lost 7 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $6.3375 a bushel. January soybeans fell 20.25 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $13.2375 a bushel and March corn fell 5 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $4.3425 a bushel.