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Gold Futures Settle Slightly Higher

Gold futures came off record highs and settled just slightly higher on Monday, as the dollar strengthened after data showed the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity saw a bigger than expected acceleration in the month of July.

Encouraging economic data from China, the Eurozone and the U.K. also lifted sentiment and prompted investors to seek riskier assets such as equities, thus resulting in reduced demand for the precious metal.

Gold futures for December edged up marginally (by just $0.40) to $1,986.30 an ounce after falling to a low of $1,975.20 an ounce from a high of $2,009.50 an ounce.

Silver futures for September were up $0.201 at $24.417 an ounce, while Copper futures for September were higher by $0.0440 at $2.9120 per pound.

The Institute for Supply Management's report said its purchasing managers index rose to 54.2 in July from 52.6 in June, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 53.6.

A strong dollar also limited gold's appeal. The dollar index rose to 93.99 around mid-morning, and was last seen at 93.60, up nearly 0.3% from Friday's close.

A private survey showed Chinese factory activity expanded at the fastest pace decade in July, helping ease worries about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy. The Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 52.8 in July from 51.2 in June.

The euro area manufacturing sector returned to growth in July for the first time in a year and a half as output and demand continued to recover with the further easing of restrictions related to the coronavirus disease, final data from IHS Markit showed.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 51.8 in July from 47.4 in June. This was also above the flash reading of 51.1.

Both production and new orders returned to growth in July. The marked expansion in output was registered for the first time since the start of 2019 and the growth in new orders was the strongest since early 2018.

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