On Wednesday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, dropped $19.80 to settle at $1,595.70 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March declined 32 cents to close at $28.94.

Both precious metals consolidated after a strong two-day bounce, despite the U.S. dollar edging lower.

Ben Bernanke delivered a second day of testimony on Capitol Hill for the Semiannual Monetary Policy Report. The Federal Reserve Chairman continued to defend the central bank’s record low interest rates and quantitative easing programs.

He explains, “We believe the monetary policies that we’ve conducted have helped get stronger recovery and more jobs than we otherwise would have had.” When asked how long before the headline unemployment rate reaches 6 percent, Bernanke’s “reasonable guess” is not until 2016. The Fed has made a pledge to keep interest rates low until at least 6.5 percent unemployment is achieved.

In afternoon trading, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) dropped 1.2 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) declined 1.6 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) both fell about 1.5 percent. Silver names such as Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) and First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) slipped 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS