Gold and platinum prices have both eased as the World Bank's weaker economic outlook and muted US inflation pushed some traders to cash out after this week's rise.

The most actively traded gold contract, for February delivery, recently on Wednesday was down $US5.90, or 0.4 per cent, at $US1,678 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Platinum had surged to a three-month high Tuesday, rising above gold for the first time in 10 months on supply cuts announced by the world's top producer of the metal.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd's planned cuts, equal to roughly seven per cent of world production, bolstered expectations that supply would fall short of demand in the global market this year.

But some investors were cashing out on Wednesday, after the World Bank said US budget battles are restraining economic growth around the world and pose a large risk to the global economy. The bank forecast global economic expansion of 2.4 per cent this year, the bank said late on Tuesday in a new forecast, down from its previous view of three per cent growth.

The bank also said world commodity prices will fall in 2013.

Most platinum is used in autocatalysts, which scrub emissions from car and truck exhaust. That makes the metal sensitive to shifts in economic growth expectations.

Precious metals are "succumbing to what appears to be a profit-taking inspired sell-off," Standard Bank analyst Marc Ground said in a note.

Platinum for April delivery was recently down 0.8 per cent at $US1,676.70 a troy ounce.

Additionally, data on Wednesday showing a very modest rise in US consumer prices in December limited demand for precious metals as a hedge against inflation, analysts and traders said.

 

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