Gold Futures Settle Higher For The Day, Shed 1.8% In Month

Gold prices climbed higher on Monday as the dollar shed ground against other major currencies, with traders looking ahead to the monetary policy meetings of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

The dollar index dropped to 96.61, losing nearly 0.7%.

Gold futures for April ended higher by $9.80 or about 0.6% at $1,796.40 an ounce. Gold futures shed about 1.8% in the month.

Silver futures for March ended higher by $0.092 at $22.393 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $4.3245 per pound, gaining $0.0145.

The Reserve Bank of Australia, which will hold its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, is expected to end its bond buying program amid high inflation.

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank will deliver their policy announcements on Thursday.

While the BoE is widely expected to deliver another increase in the key interest rate, the ECB is seen maintaining its monetary policy and is unlikely to give any signals on possible rate hikes.

Traders are also awaiting the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report. The report is due on Friday.

Economists currently expect employment to increase by 155,000 jobs in January after rising by 199,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.9 percent.

The strength of the monthly jobs data could impact expectations regarding how fast the Federal Reserve will raise rates from near-zero levels in an effort to fight inflation.

Meanwhile, a report released by MNI Indicators today showd Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly grew at a faster rate in the month of January, with the Chicago business barometer rising to 65.2 in the month from an upwardly revised 64.3 in December.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected the Chicago business barometer to drop to 61.7 from the 63.1 originally reported for the previous month.

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