Gold futures little changed in rangebound trade

Shutterstock photo - Gold futures were little changed in rangebound trade during U.S. morning hours on Monday, as traders continued to react to Friday's stronger-than-forecast U.S. nonfarm payrolls data as well as a flurry of economic reports out of China over the weekend.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at USD1,576.90 a troy ounce during U.S. morning trade, little changed on the day.

Prices rose by as much as 0.4% earlier in the day to hit a session high of USD1,582.30 a troy ounce. On Friday, Comex gold prices fell to USD1,560.60 a troy ounce, the weakest level since February 21.

Gold prices were likely to find support at USD1,554.80 a troy ounce, the low from February 21 and resistance at USD1,602.20, the high from February 28.

From a technical standpoint, the precious metal has traded in a tight range of roughly USD1,560 to USD1,580 a troy ounce since the beginning of March.

Gold's gains were limited as the U.S. dollar remained supported in the wake of Friday's better-than-expected employment data from the U.S.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.1% to trade at 83.10. A stronger dollar makes U.S. commodities more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor said the economy added 236,000 jobs in February, beating expectations for a 160,000 increase. However, January's figure was revised down to an increase of 119,000 from a previously reported gain of 157,000.

The data also showed that the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.7% from 7.9% in January.

Market analysts noted that the still-high jobless rate will keep the Fed's asset-purchase program in place for the indefinite future. The central bank previously stated that monetary policy will remain accommodative "at least as long" as the jobless rate remains above 6.5%.

Moves in the gold price this year have largely tracked shifting expectations as to whether the U.S. central bank could bring quantitative easing, one of the biggest boosts to gold's bull run, to an end this year.

Meanwhile, in China, official data released over the weekend showed that consumer prices rose 3.2% in February from a year earlier, above expectations for a 3% increase and accelerating sharply from a 2% rate of increase in January.

Separate reports showed that industrial production rose 9.9% in February, less than the expected 10.5% increase and following a 10.3% rise the previous month.

Ongoing fears over the deteriorating economic health of Italy also remained in focus after ratings agency Fitch Ratings cut Italy's sovereign credit rating to BBB+ from A- on Friday, citing the inconclusive outcome of last month's parliamentary elections and a deeper recession.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for May delivery fell 0.45% to trade at USD28.81 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery declined 0.45% to trade at USD3.494 a pound.

Copper prices came under pressure amid concerns about the economic health of China, the world's largest consumer of the industrial metal. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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