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Gold prices edge higher in Asia with China trade data in focus

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Investing.com -

Investing.com - Gold prices edged higher on Monday in Asia with China in focus after mixed trade data at the weekend.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery traded at $1,252.80 a barrel, up 0.02%, after settling at $1,252.50 by close of trade on Friday. Prices traded in a range between $1,245.70 and $1,258.20 an ounce.

The Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added 217,000 jobs last month, just under expectations for jobs growth of 218,000. The unemployment rate remained steady at a five-and-a-half year low of 6.3%.

The data disappointed some market expectations for a more robust reading but indicated that the Federal Reserve is likely to stick to the current pace of reductions to its asset purchase program.

Despite Friday's lackluster performance, Comex gold advanced 0.51%, or $6.50 an ounce on the week, thanks to strong gains recorded on Thursday following the European Central Bank's decision to unveil fresh stimulus measures.

The ECB cut the main refinancing rate in the euro area to a record low 0.15% and imposed negative deposit rates on commercial lenders, in a bid to stimulate lending to businesses.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to Thursday's U.S. retail sales report for further indications on the strength of the economic recovery.

Comex gold prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks as upbeat U.S. economic data underlined the view that the economy is shaking off the effects of a weather-related slowdown over the winter.

Silver for July delivery traded at $19.015 a troy ounce, up 0.13%, after settling at $18.99 a troy ounce on Friday.

Copper for July delivery fell to $3.052 a pound, down 0.12%, after China data at the weekend showed a better than expected surplus for May, coming in at $35.92 billion, the largest since $39 billion in January 2009.Exports were up 7.0%, and imports dropped 1.6%, which is bearish for the Australian dollar as the China is a top export destination.

On the week, Comex copper prices lost 3.66%, or 11.6 cents a pound, as Chinese authorities continue to investigate whether companies used the same copper, aluminum and iron ore stocks held in the port of Qingdao as collateral for multiple loans.

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

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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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