Gold prices up in Asia on Ukraine tension, U.S. data limits gains

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Investing.com - Gold prices rose marginally in Asia on Friday on continued support from geopolitical tension with Russia over the Crimean region of the Ukraine.

However, better-than-expected reports on U.S. retail sales and jobless claims reminded investors the Federal Reserve remains on track to continue tapering its monthly bond-buying program, keeping gains in check.

Currently set at $65 billion in Treasury and mortgage debt purchases a month, the Fed's bond-buying program suppresses interest rates to spur recovery, which weakens the dollar and bolsters gold's appeal as a hedge.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at $1,373.70, up 0.09%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,365.00 and off a high of $1,375.40

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in February, ending two months of declines and better than market expectations for a 0.2% increase.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, also rose 0.3% last month, beating expectations for a 0.2% rise.

Separately, the Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing new claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 9,000 to a three-month low of 315,000 last week.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 6,000 last week.

The number trimmed gold's gains, as Federal Reserve officials have said they'll pay close attention to data when deciding on the pace at which the U.S. central bank scale back monthly asset purchases.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery rose 0.22% at US$21.245 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery were down 0.16% at US$2.918 a pound.

On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with data on producer price inflation and preliminary data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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