Investing.com - Gold prices held nearly flat in early Asia on Friday with few immediate data cues in the region on the day ahead.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery traded at $1,238.80 a troy ounce, down 0.01%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,236.10 and off a high of $1,245.50.
Overnight, gold futures traded steady to lower, buoyed earlier after soft Chinese inflation data sparked global growth concerns that fueled safe-haven demand for the precious metal, though upbeat U.S. data kept the commodity in negative territory.
Official data released on Wednesday showed that Chinese inflation for September slowed to 1.6% on-year from 2.0% in August, below expectations for a reading of 1.7%.
The weaker-than-expected data underlined concerns about China's economy and sparked speculation policymakers in Beijing will have to introduce fresh stimulus to meet the government's 7.5% growth target.
U.S. data, however, kept the yellow metal in negative territory by reminding investors that U.S. monetary policy will tighten soon
The U.S. Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Oct. 11 fell by 23,000 to 264,000 from the previous week's total of 287,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 3,000 to 290,000 last week.
Elsewhere, data revealed that U.S. industrial production climbed 1.0% last month, beating expectations for a 0.4% rise. The August figure was revised to a 0.2% slip from a previously estimated 0.1% downtick.
In addition, the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia said its manufacturing index fell to 20.7 this month from 22.5 in September, less than market expectations for a decline to 20.0.
Thursday's data rekindled market expectations that the days of ultra-loose monetary policies that have supported gold since the 2008 financial crisis are coming to an end.
The Federal Reserve is expected to close its bond-buying program this month and hike interest rates some time in 2015.
Silver for December delivery rose 0.10% at $17.377 a troy ounce. Copper futures for December delivery were flat at $2.986 a pound.
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