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Gold Futures Settle Lower Again

Gold prices declined sharply on Tuesday, extending recent losses, after the dollar edged higher, and equities firmed up on strong Chinese manufacturing data.

The dollar index was up 99.95 early on in the session, and after falling to 98.99 by noon, recovered to 99.50 before faltering again.

Gold futures for June ended down $46.60, or about 2.8%, at $1,596.60 an ounce.

On Monday, gold futures for June ended down $10.90, or about 0.7%, at $1,643.20 an ounce

Gold futures gained almost 2% in the month.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.024 at $14.156 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.2280 per pound, gaining $0.0725.

Upbeat factory activity data from China raised hopes of an economic recovery in the world's second-largest economy, following the coronavirus outbreak.

The manufacturing sector in China moved back into expansion in March, the latest survey from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed with a PMI score of 52.0 - beating forecasts for 45.0. That's up sharply from 35.7 in February.

The non-manufacturing PMI came in at 52.3, also exceeding expectations for 42.0 and up from 29.6 in the previous month. The composite PMI posted a score of 53.0, up from 28.9 a month prior.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attributed the surprise rebound in PMI to its record low base in February and cautioned that the readings do not signal a stabilization in economic activity.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer fell to 47.8 in March from 49.0 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in regional business activity.

The Chicago business barometer remained below 50 for the ninth straight month but showed a relatively modest decrease compared to economist estimates for a slump to 40.0.

A report from the Conference Board showed a notable decrease in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of March.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slumped to 120.0 in March from an upwardly revised 132.6 in February. Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to tumble to 110.0 from the 130.7 originally reported for the previous month.

The report said the present situation index dipped to 167.7 in March from 169.3 in February, reflecting a modestly less favorable assessment of current conditions.

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