Precious Metals Decline as U.S. Dollar Hits 7-Month High

On Wednesday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, dipped $3.30 to close at $1,588.40 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for May declined 21 cents to finish at $28.96.

Both precious metals experienced weakness as the U.S. dollar bounced after better-than-expected retail sales. According to the Commerce Department, retail sales rose 1.1 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted $421.4 billion, compared to January. However, almost half of the gain came from rising gasoline prices.

Economists polled by Reuters expected retail sales to increase 0.50 percent last month. After the release, the greenback index climbed to as high as 83.06, its highest level in about seven months.

By the end of the trading day, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) closed 0.34 percent in the red, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) fell 0.92 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) both dropped more than 2.0 percent. Silver names such as First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) declined 3.61 percent and 2.59 percent, respectively.

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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS