Investing.com - Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, as market players looked ahead to the release of key U.S. data later in the session for fresh indications on the strength of the economy and the timing of a U.S. rate increase.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery tacked on $1.90, or 0.16%, to trade at $1,195.10 a troy ounce during European morning hours. Prices traded in a tight range between $1,192.10 and $1,196.50.
A day earlier, gold rose $6.40, or 0.54%, to close at $1,193.20. Futures were likely to find support at $1,168.40, the low from May 1, and resistance at $1,207.40, the high from April 30.
Also on the Comex, silver futures for July delivery shed 1.9 cents, or 0.11%, to trade at $16.56 a troy ounce. On Tuesday, silver jumped 13.8 cents, or 0.84, to end at $16.57.
Investors were looking ahead to the ADP report on private sector jobs growth for April later in the day, as well as a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, which would be closely watched for any indications on the timing of the first hike in interest rates.
Traders were are also waiting for Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for further clues on when the Fed may raise interest rates.
A strong U.S. nonfarm payrolls report was likely to bring forward expectations on when the central bank will begin to raise rates, while a weak number could weigh on the dollar by undermining the argument for an early rate increase.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.45% to trade at 94.84 early Wednesday.
The drop in the dollar came after the Commerce Department said Tuesday the trade deficit widened by 43.1% to $51.4 billion in March, the largest since October 2008, due to a jump in imports.
The trade gap was far larger than assumed in the government's initial estimate of first quarter growth last week, fuelling fears that the U.S. economy may have contracted in the first three months of the year.
A recent run of disappointing U.S. economic data dampened optimism over the recovery, fuelling speculation the Fed could delay hiking interest rates until late 2015, instead of tightening midyear.
But the Fed said in its rate statement last week that recent indications of a slowdown in growth were probably due to "transitory factors."
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for July delivery inched down 0.2 cents, or 0.05%, to trade at $2.934 a pound.
Copper rallied to $2.956 on Tuesday, the strongest level since November 28, before settling at $2.935, up 1.4 cents, or 0.5%, amid mounting speculation policymakers in China will have to introduce further stimulus measures to jumpstart the economy amid lackluster growth.
The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption.
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