Gold futures fell the most in three weeks as pessimism on a U.S. budget resolution eroded demand for commodities.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for February delivery tumbled 1.5 percent to settle at $1,718.80 an ounce at 1:38 p.m., the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Nov. 2. In the first 30 seconds of floor trading, 7,700 contracts traded, according to PVM Futures Inc.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell as much as 1.4 percent, erasing this year’s gain. Erskine Bowles, the co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s 2010 fiscal commission, said that a deal with Congress to avert the so- called fiscal cliff is unlikely by the end of this year.

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