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Gold Futures Settle Notably Higher

Gold prices moved higher on Friday on safe-haven demand as tensions between the U.S. and China escalated, and concerns about another wave of coronavirus resurfaced amid reopening of the economies.

Gold futures for August ended up $23.40, or about 1.4%, at $1,751.70 an ounce. Gold futures gained nearly 3.5% in the month.

Silver futures for July gained about 3%, or 0.53, at $18.499 an ounce, and took their gains for the month to almost 24%, the best monthly returns in more than 9 years.

Copper futures for July moved up by about 0.5% to $2.4255 per pound.

The Sino-U.S. rift deepened after China's parliament approved the controversial security law on Hong Kong, undermining the city's reputation as a financial hub with substantial autonomy.

Traders awaited U.S. President Donald Trump's news conference, due later in the day. It was being speculated that Trump may impose mild new sanctions on visas and Chinese access to the global financial system.

In economic news, revised data released by the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by slightly less initially estimated in the month of May. The report showed the consumer sentiment index for May was downwardly revised to 72.3 from the preliminary reading of 73.7. Economists had expected the index to be upwardly revised to 74.0.

A report released by MNI Indicators showed its Chicago business barometer dropped to 32.3 in May from 35.4 in April, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in regional business activity. Economists had expected the barometer to rise to 40.0. With the unexpected decrease, the Chicago business barometer dropped to its lowest level since March of 1982.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department's report showed an unexpected substantial increase in U.S. personal income in the month of April. The report said personal income spiked by 10.5% in April after tumbling by a revised 2.2% in March. Economists had expected income to plunge by 6.5% compared to the 2% slump originally reported for the previous month.

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