Gold prices are starting the New Year off higher as the precious metal rebounds from its worst year since 1981.

Gold prices are starting the New Year off higher as the precious metal rebounds from its worst year since 1981.

The actively traded February contract for gold rose $22.90, or 2 percent, to $1,225.20 an ounce Thursday. Silver also rose sharply. The March contract jumped 75.8 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at $20.128 an ounce.

Gold fell 28 percent in 2013 as the Federal Reserve said it would start winding down part of its easy-money policies. The Fed's bond purchases had helped send gold prices higher by getting investors worried about inflation.

Oil prices fell sharply Thursday on expectations of higher global supplies and as the U.S. dollar strengthened. Crude for February delivery dropped $2.98, or 3 percent, to $95.44 a barrel.

Crop prices fell.