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Gold throws taper tantrum, ends 1% lower near $1,244

Source: World Gold Council

Gold settled more than 1 percent lower on Thursday, in the wake of constructive U.S. jobless data, and hurt by fears the U.S. Federal Reserve might be able to start scaling back its stimulus program soon.

In the Oct. 29-30 Fed policy meeting minutes released on Wednesday, officials indicated that they could decide to start reducing the asset purchases at one of their next few meetings provided this was warranted by economic growth.

Many in the markets took that to mean the program could be trimmed earlier than consensus forecasts, which had been pointing to March.

Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,244 an ounce. Earlier it hit its lowest level since July 9 at $1,237.09 an ounce, extending a fall of 2.5 percent seen on Wednesday, when the metal posted its biggest daily loss in seven weeks.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled 1.2 percent lower at $1,243.60 an once.

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Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 5,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Recent U.S. economic data is looking better and a solid jobs report for November would increase the likelihood that the Fed would start to scale back bond buying at its meeting next month, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said.

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