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Gold prices ease in Asia with U.S. economic data prospects in focus

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold prices eased in Asia on Wednesday with investors eyeing U.S. data for signs recent downbeat assessments were seasonal and related to a harsh East Coast winter rather than a broad slowdown.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery eased 0.14% to $1,208.90.40 a troy ounce.

Elsewhere, silver for May delivery fell 0.11% to 16.822 a troy ounce. Copper for May delivery dropped 0.05% to $2.753 a pound.

Overnight, gold futures fell back on Tuesday amid a stronger dollar, erasing some of the gains from Monday's rally when the precious metal nearly reached a seven-week high following a disappointing U.S. jobs report.

Last Friday, a weaker than expected U.S. employment report fueled speculation that the Fed could delay a highly anticipated interest rate hike.

In its monthly jobs report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added 126,000 in March, halting a streak of 12 consecutive months of job growth that exceeded 200,000. The modest job increases nationwide marked the weakest period of hiring in 15 months. In terms of average weekly earnings, employees nationwide received the smallest annual gains in wages since last June.

The labor force participation rate, which measures the number of people who are either employed or actively looking for work, also painted a bleak outlook. During the month of March, the rate ticked down to 62.7%, the lowest level in 36 years.

In mid-March, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen indicated that the Fed could begin raising interest rates when it was "reasonably confident" that inflation will move toward its target inflation of 2%. Yellen added that the Fed will take a "data-driven" approach to potential liftoff by keeping a close eye on wage and GDP growth before raising its benchmark Federal Funds Rate.

Economic data released earlier this week, however, has been slightly more encouraging. The ISM non-manufacturing Index posted a 56.5 figure on Monday, bolstered by strength in new orders with a 57.8 rating. It came in the wake of positive services data, after the PMI Services Index rose to 59.2 in March, more than one-half point higher than monthly forecasts. The reading was also up more than two points from the final reading for February. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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