RTTNews - Gold prices dropped sharply on Wednesday as the dollar rebounded modestly against other major currencies. With the drop, the metal backed off the key $1,000 an ounce mark.

The most-actively traded August gold contract closed the session at 965.60 per ounce, down $18.80. Prices touched as low as $961.50.

The dollar gained on its higher-yielding European rivals on Wednesday as falling global stocks reduced risk appeal. The greenback moved away from a five-month low against the euro and seven-month low against the pound. Gold usually moves opposite the dollar because of the precious metal's hedge attractiveness.

The metal hit as high as $992.10 in overnight trading, threatening to top 1,000 for the first time since February. Gold reached a record $1,033.90 in March 2008.

In economic news, Automatic Data Processing reported non-farm private employment fell by 532,000 jobs in May following a revised decrease of 545,000 jobs in April. Economists had expected a decrease of about 525,000 jobs compared to the decline of 491,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Later, a Commerce Department report showed that orders for manufactured goods rose 0.7 percent in April following a revised 1.9 percent drop in March. Economists had expected orders to increase by 0.9 percent compared to the 0.9 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

In other metal trading, copper fell to $2.212 per pound, down 8.55 cents. Silver settled at $15.31, down 64.5 cents an ounce.

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