WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - Gold futures ended lower for a third straight session Thursday, on some positive data from the US and China, even as the precious metal found support with the prevailing uncertainty in Ukraine.
Gold rallied to trim some of the losses as the Ukraine crisis heated up despite calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a peaceful resolution. CNN reports Russian separatists plan to go ahead with a referendum on sovereignty this weekend despite objections from the Kremlin.
While Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen remained upbeat over the economic outlook for the nation, she indicated the housing sector as one of the weak spots of the economy.
In economic news, a report from the US Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week. Meanwhile, China's exports as well as imports increased in April defying expectations, vindicating the government's resistance to introduce more stimulus to cushion recovery.
Gold for June delivery, the most actively traded contract, dropped USD1.20 or 0.1% to close at USD1,287.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Thursday.
Gold for June delivery scaled an intraday high of USD1,295.50 and a low of USD1,284.80 an ounce.
Yesterday, gold ended sharply lower amid some easing concerns over Ukraine after the Russian president called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, remained unchanged at 782.85 tons on Thursday from its previous close.
The dollar index, which tracks the US unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.38 on Thursday, up from its previous close of 79.24 late Wednesday in North American trade. The dollar scaled a high of 79.44 intraday and a low of 78.91.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at USD1.3849 on Thursday, as compared to its previous close of USD1.3911 late Wednesday in North America. The euro scaled a high of USD1.3993 intraday and a low of USD1.3911.
In economic news from the US, a report from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week. The data showed initial jobless claims fell to 319,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised level of 345,000. Economists expected jobless claims to drop to 325,000 from the 344,000 originally reported for the previous week.
China's trade surplus more than doubled to USD18.46 billion in April from USD7.71 billion in March. This exceeds the USD17.7 billion surplus forecast by economists. Exports gained 0.9% in April from last year. Shipments were forecast to fall 2% after declining 6.6% in March. Likewise, imports rose 0.8%, confounding expectations for a 2.1% drop. The increase reversed some of the 11.3% fall in March.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank kept its key interest rates unchanged for the sixth consecutive month, despite deflation risks. ECB President Mario Draghi said policy makers were open to unprecedented easing measures in June if the euro strengthens or deflationary pressures persist.
The Bank of England too retained its interest rate at a historic low, besides stating that rates will not be raised before the second quarter of 2015.
Germany's industrial production dropped unexpectedly in March largely driven by contraction in construction activity. In a first decline in five months, industrial production dropped 0.5% in March from February, Destatis reported. Production was up 0.6% in February and 0.4% higher in January. On a yearly basis, overall industrial production grew 3% in March, but slower than the 4.4% rise forecast by economists.