Gold futures rise to session high after U.S. jobless claims data

Shutterstock photo - Gold futures rose to the highest level of the session during U.S. morning trade on Thursday, hitting a fresh three-week high after data showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. rose last week.

Sentiment on the precious metal remained upbeat after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to leave interest rates unchanged near zero and continue buying USD85 billion in debt each month.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at USD1,613.80 a troy ounce during U.S. morning trade, up 0.4% on the day.

Prices rose by as much as 0.5% earlier in the day to hit a session high of USD1,615.80 a troy ounce, the strongest level since February 26.

Gold prices were likely to find support at USD1,560.60 a troy ounce, the low from March 8 and near-term resistance at USD1,619.40, the high from February 26.

Gold futures rose to the session high after the U.S., the Department of Labor said the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance last week rose by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, compared to expectations for an increase of 8,000 to 342,000.

Meanwhile, the Fed announced Wednesday that it will leave its loose monetary policy in place, citing concerns over high unemployment levels and risks from tax increases and federal government spending cuts.

Fed officials reaffirmed their commitment to keeping short-term interest rates at record low levels at least until unemployment falls to 6.5%. The current unemployment rate is 7.7%.

Moves in the gold price this year have largely tracked shifting expectations as to whether the Fed could bring quantitative easing to an end this year.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank announced that it will continue to supply emergency funding to Cyprus's banks until next Monday.

The ECB said that further funding would be considered if an agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on a bailout is in place.

Negotiations aimed at finding an alternative solution on a bailout deal for the tiny island continued after the country's parliament rejected a controversial bank deposit tax in a vote on Tuesday.

Cyprus needs to come up with EUR5.8 billion on its own in order to secure EUR10 billion in rescue loans from international creditors.

Also on the Comex, silver for May delivery jumped 1.2% to trade at USD29.15 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery dipped 0.2% to trade at USD3.439 a pound.

Copper futures erased earlier gains as appetite for riskier assets weakened following the release of disappointing German and French manufacturing data.

Germany's manufacturing PMI fell to 48.9 in March from 50.3 the previous month, while the French manufacturing PMI came in at 43.9 in March, unchanged from February's reading.

Also Thursday, data showed that China's HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest indicator of the country's industrial activity, rose to 51.7 in March from a final reading of 50.4 in February.

The measure remains above 50.0, indicating an expansion in manufacturing activity. - 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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