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On Monday, December 16, 2013 the prices of both gold and silver rose ahead of the scheduled two day Fed policy meeting. Specifically, gold jumped 1% to $1,244.40 an ounce, while silver jumped 3% to $20.10 an ounce.

Later in the week, the Federal Reserve conducted its final 2013 policy meeting. A number of economists anticipated that the Fed would keep its current policies in place, at least for the first two months of the year.

However, after months of speculation and indecision, the Fed finally announced it would start tapering its monthly stimulus into the US economy in January. Specifically, they will be reducing the monthly contribution by $10 billion, from its current $85 billion per month to a reduced $75 billion a month. The Fed cited a number of factors for the decision: slight economic growth, improved labor conditions, greater consumer and business spending, and an inflation rate that appears sustainable.

In theory, the Fed’s decision should be an indication that the economy is recovering enough to not need to lean on government stimulus as much, which is positive. But for investors, and for gold and silver, the news was not very exciting.

On the heels of its growth earlier in the week, gold dropped to a six month low following the announcement, and briefly dipped below $1,200 an ounce. Silver dropped to under $20 an ounce. Clearly it was a roller coaster week for both precious metals and for the investment world in general.

The tapering discussion has been a hot topic throughout most of 2013. Initially the Fed indicated that it would begin tapering in the spring, and then revoked that notion in September. Now as the year draws to a close, tapering has become a reality.

While the meeting and decision clearly impacted gold and silver this week, investors should continue to keep a high level perspective. The beginning of the year is typically a period of growth for precious metals, especially gold, which is incorporated into many holidays and celebrations around the world during the first few months of the year.

Regardless of which side of the tapering discussion you’ve been on this year, the reality has been established. Gold, silver, and the economy as a whole will go on. As in all other years, we will see both upward and downward trends for precious metals. This year has been a particularly down year for both gold and silver, but both metals were riding high just two short years ago. It’s impossible to say when gold and silver will reach and exceed those highs, but what we know for certain is that the price is low, and the chance to buy either (or both) is as opportunistic as its been in quite some time. Keep up to date with gold and silver news