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Gold Prices Slump as Traders Fear Fed

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices were slumping on Tuesday as a stronger U.S. dollar coupled with anticipation for the Federal Reserve's minutes put downward pressure on the yellow metal. Gold prices

Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the CME was sliding $19.40 to $1,364.70 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,399.90 and as low as $1,358 an ounce, while the spot price was dropping $22.10, according to Kitco's gold index.

"It looks mostly like it's in reaction to a firmer dollar, which is I suppose logical given that we're headed into the Fed testimony," said James Steel, chief commodities analyst at HSBC.

Silver prices for July delivery was dropping 43 cents to $22.16 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was climbing 0.33% to $84.03.

Traders say minutes from the Fed's most recent policy-making meeting, which are due out on Wednesday, likely will be a huge mover for gold prices. A strong April nonfarm payrolls report and a raft of other sturdy economic data have led economists to say the Fed may hint at scaling back its quantitative easing programs.

A Wall Street Journal report emerged last week that suggested Fed members were thinking of scaling back monetary stimulus as economic data has improved.

Gold markets would view the Fed's move to reduce stimulus as a non-inflationary action. Investors and traders have seen the central bank's accommodative policy as inflationary, and gold is often deemed a hedge against inflation.

"With the Fed minutes anything can happen, it's going to be all about language," Mihir Dange, options trader at Grafite Capital, said in an interview. "It's very possible we see a $30, $40, $50 move just on Fed minutes."

Gold mining stocks were mostly lower on Tuesday. Shares of Eldorado Gold (EGO - Get Report) were off 3.8%, and shares of Yamana Gold (AUY - Get Report) were losing 3.6%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold (ABX - Get Report) was dropping 2.3%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was declining 1.8% to $132.73 a share, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was slipping 1.8% to $13.33 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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AUY $3.83 0.00%
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GLD $113.05 0.00%
IAU $11.40 0.00%

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