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Gold suffers biggest quarterly loss in a year on Fed outlook

Gold
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Gold hit its lowest level in two weeks and recorded its biggest quarterly loss in a year on Wednesday as U.S. jobs data came in stronger than expected and the market awaited clarity on the timing of a hotly anticipated U.S. interest rate rise.

That capped off gold's worst quarter since the third quarter of 2014, having fallen nearly 5 percent since July. It was its fifth successive quarter of losses, the longest such streak since 1997.

Platinum remained on track for its biggest quarterly loss in seven years after plunging to its lowest level since December 2008 on Tuesday on fears of a drop in demand for diesel cars in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Spot gold was down 1.1 percent at $1,114.46 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $11.60 an ounce at $1,115.20.

The metal has come under pressure from expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to hike interest rates this year, potentially lifting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Bullion fell as low as $1,111.60 on Wednesday, its lowest level since Sept. 16, after a report showed that U.S. private employers added 200,000 jobs in September, beating a forecast for 194,000 among economists polled by Reuters.

"The more positive the news is, the more bearish it is to gold from here on," said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist for brokerage RJO Futures in Chicago, noting that a report earlier this month showing record-high U.S. job openings was still contributing to negative sentiment on gold.

Spot platinum was down 1 percent at $904.75 an ounce, and has fallen nearly 16 percent this quarter.

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The metal was hit last week by news of Volkswagen's falsification of U.S. vehicle emission tests, which some investors believe could affect demand for diesel cars. Platinum is widely used in emissions-controlling automotive catalytic converters, particularly for diesel engines.

"In the short term at least, the condition of oversupply in platinum is likely to prevail," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.

Spot palladium was down 0.5 percent at $650.75, closing the quarter down nearly 3 percent for its third consecutive quarterly loss. Silver was down 0.6 percent at $14.52 an ounce and closed the quarter down nearly 8 percent.