Gold futures ended marginally higher for a third straight day Friday, searching for direction in the absence of major catalysts, even as the dollar strengthened after a positive consumer sentiment report from the U.S. Investors also weighed down a World Gold Council report Thursday that indicated declining demand for the precious metal in India and China, two of the world's largest consumers.
Nonetheless, the precious metal shed 0.2 percent for the week.
Gold for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained $0.20 or 0.01 percent to close at $1,619.40 an ounce Friday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold for December delivery traded at an intraday high of $1,623.00 and a low of $1,613.30 an ounce.
Gold extended gains for a second session yesterday, as investor appetite for riskier assets improved after some positive economic data from the U.S. earlier in the week and as well on a weak dollar.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at $1.2320 on Friday, as compared to $1.2357 late Thursday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.2381 intraday and a low of $1.2290.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 82.62 on Friday, up from 82.39 in North American trade late Thursday. The dollar scaled a high of 82.76 intraday and a low of 82.32.
In economic news, U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly improved in August following increased jitters earlier this summer. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary August index of consumer sentiment increased to 73.6 from 72.3 last month. This was the highest level since May, defying market expectations for a reading of 72.2.
The current economic conditions index climbed to 87.6 from 82.7, but the survey's measure of consumer expectations slipped to 64.5 from 65.6, indicating consumers expect to be thrifty in the coming months.
Eurozone foreign trade surplus increased in June, data released by Eurostat showed. The trade surplus rose to 14.9 billion euros in June from 7.1 billion euros in May. A year ago, the balance was in a surplus of 0.2 billion euros.
Earlier today, data from the Federal Statistics Office revealed German producer price inflation eased to 0.9 percent in July from 1.6 percent in June. Economists expected the rate to ease to 1.2 percent. A year ago, the rate of inflation was 2.1 percent.
Spanish banks' bad loans reached its highest on record in June, the Bank of Spain reported Friday. Bad loans rose to 9.42 percent of total lending in June, compared to 8.95 percent in May. Non-performing loans increased 8.4 billion euros in June, to 164.4 billion euros. The property market crash as well as Spain's record high unemployment rate in the euro area were responsible for the bad loans.
by RTT Staff Writer
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