Gold was pressured to a five-week low Wednesday as the U.S. dollar advanced and crude-oil declined. New York silver, gold and platinum futures fell 1.9 percent, 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
February crude-oil lost 50 cents, or 1.3 percent, to close to $37.28 a barrel. Oil has been down six out of the last seven trading sessions.
The Energy Information Administration forecasted weaker oil demand throughout the year on Tuesday, with prices averaging $43 per barrel in 2009 and $55 in 2010. Wednesday the agency reported that crude inventories rose to a 16-month high.
AAA reported that the average price for regular unleaded gasoline increased two-tenths of a cent to $1.792 a gallon.
March silver lost 21 cents to close at $10.475 an ounce.
April platinum fell $20.20 following Tuesday’s $17.90 loss. It ended at $935.80 an ounce.
Gold for February declined $11.90 to settle at $808.80 an ounce.
"Today’s New York spot dealings opened with a $4.00 gain for gold, but turned sharply lower in quick order, as participants remained wary of index rebalancing and as must-sell scenarios materialized once again in the wake of the retail and Beige Book numbers and the rout in the Dow," said senior analyst Jon Nadler at Kitco Bullion Dealers.
The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book figures showed a U.S. economy that continued to weaken throughout most of the nation last month.
Gold, considered a hedge during times of high inflation and economic uncertainty, tends to follow oil and move opposite to the U.S. dollar. A rising greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities, like bullion, more expensive for holders of other world currencies.