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Gold Futures Settle Higher As Dollar Eases

Gold prices edged higher on Friday, rebounding from Thursday's losses, after the U.S. dollar turned easy ahead of the Federal Reserve's rate decision next week and on optimism about U.S.-China trade talks.

Also, investors sought the safe haven asset after reports about mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 49 people and injured several others.

The dollar index dropped to 96.49 before regaining some lost ground. Still, at 96.55, the dollar index was down by about 0.2% from previous close.

Gold futures for April ended up $7.80, or 0.6%, at $1,302.90 an ounce.

On Thursday, gold futures ended down $14.20, or 1.1%, at $1,295.10, after having vaulted to a four-week high and settling with a gain of $11.20, or 0.9%, at $1,309.30 an ounce a day earlier.

For the week, gold futures gained about 0.3%.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.153, at $15.324 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.9060 per pound, gaining $0.0145 for the session.

With the Federal Reserve expected to hold interest rates unchanged after its policy meeting next week, traders focused on yellow metal.

In economic news today, the Fed said industrial production inched up by 0.1% in February after falling by a revised 0.4% in January.

Economists had expected production to climb by 0.4% compared to the 0.6% drop originally reported for the previous month.

The uptick in production came as a spike in utilities output and an increase in mining output was largely offset by a continued drop in manufacturing output.

"The further decline in manufacturing output in February confirms that the global industrial slowdown is now weighing more heavily on U.S. producers," said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

A separate report from the New York Fed showed an unexpected slowdown in regional manufacturing growth, although the University of Michigan also released a report showing a bigger than expected improvement in consumer sentiment in March.

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