Gold prices eased in Asia on Wednesday as investors eyed a key China maufacturing survey that came in weaker than expected and signaled possible weak demand for the precious metal. The Caixin Manufacturing index for September fell to 47, from the August level of 47.3, putting it at a 78-month low. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery traded at $1.123.50, down 0.12%. Silver for December delivery lost 0.24% to $14.720 a troy ounce. Copper for December delivery dropped 0.39% to $2.295 a pound. China, the world’s largest consumer of copper, accounts for approximately 40% of all copper consumption in the world. Overnight, gold futures fell considerably amid a stronger dollar, as weak Chinese demand and hawkish signals of an imminent interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve continued to place downward pressure on the precious metal. A host of Fed governors continue to reiterate that a 2015 rate hike is on the table in the wake of last week’s closely-watched decision to leave its benchmark Federal Funds Rate at its current level between zero and 0.25%. The U.S. central bank has left the rate at record lows since December, 2008 in an effort to stimulate a dormant economy reeling from the Financial Crisis. Nearly a decade has passed since the FOMC last tightened its monetary policy by instituting a rate hike.