Gold futures ended lower Tuesday, after surging to a record in earlier trading session, as traders predict the Federal Reserve will cut borrowing costs by half a percentage point on Wednesday and mining resumes in South Africa following power cuts.
Gold for February delivery closed down $2 at $925.10 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, gold futures hit a new record of $939 an ounce in electronic trading. The Fed last week cut the rate to 3.5 percent in an emergency move to head off a recession.
The main focus remained the Federal Open Market Committee policy-setting meeting, with most still expecting another interest-rate cut Wednesday.
On Monday, gold rose $16.40, or 1.8 percent, to close at $927.10 an ounce, after hitting a record of $929.80 an ounce earlier in the session.
For the moment, the market's trading focus shifts to equities once again, but does not deviate too far from the main event - tomorrow's Fed decision, said Jon Nadler, an analyst at Kitco Bullion Dealers in research notes.
The package is arriving; the only thing left to do is ascertain the size of its contents, Nadler added.
Gold also fell after mining operations are set to resume in South Africa following five days power cuts by the state-owned utility Eskom Holdings Ltd. The company said it would raise power supply to 80 percent of mine needs today and 90 percent by January 31.
South Africa is the second largest gold producer after China and the top producer of platinum, contributing 75 percent of supplies. Platinum futures earlier reached a record $1,734.90 an ounce.
AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the largest gold producer in Africa, expects to resume full output by the end of next week.