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Gold futures pare gains in choppy trade as Draghi speaks

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Shutterstock photo - Gold futures trimmed gains during U.S. morning hours on Thursday, coming off the highest levels of the session following comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

Market players also awaited the release of key U.S. monthly jobs report on Friday as well as Chinese economic numbers due out Friday and Saturday.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at USD1,581.70 a troy ounce during U.S. morning trade, up 0.4% on the day.

Prices rose by as much as 0.6% earlier in the day to hit a session high of USD1,584.80 a troy ounce.

Gold prices were likely to find near-term support at USD1,564.20 a troy ounce, the low from March 1 and resistance at USD1,602.20, the high from February 28.

Speaking at the ECB's post-policy meeting press conference, Draghi said that the bank's Governing Council discussed a rate cut, but the "prevailing consensus" was to leave borrowing costs unchanged.

Draghi added that inflation expectations remain "firmly anchored" and that the region's economy was expected to stabilize in the first half of 2013, with activity picking up later in the year.

Draghi's comments came after the ECB left rates on hold at a record low 0.75% earlier, in a widely anticipated decision.

Also Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending March 2 fell by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000, compared to expectations for an increase of 8,000 to 355,000.

Separate reports showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened more-than-expected in January, while U.S. non-farm productivity fell less-than-initially-expected in the fourth quarter.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.45% to trade at 82.18.

A weaker U.S. dollar usually boosts gold, as it enhances the metal's appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities less expensive for holders of other currencies.

Gold traders now looked ahead to Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls employment report. On the same day, China will announce its trade data for February, which will be followed by inflation and industrial numbers over the weekend.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for May delivery added 0.8% to trade at USD29.03 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery rose 0.7% to trade at USD3.516 a pound. - 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.

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