WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - Gold futures inched up to end higher for a fifth straight session Friday, as the turmoil in Iraq for control of major cities continued unabated. Investors also weighed some soft economic data out of the US with producer prices and consumer sentiments dipping unexpectedly.
Nonetheless, gold futures gained about 1.7% for the week.
In Iraq, the Sunni majority jihadists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are reported to have advanced into Diyala province in the east which is close to the Iranian border. Meanwhile, reports say hundreds have been killed in the fighting as the ISIS took control of Mosul and Tikrit.
The ISIS militants are reportedly pushing toward Baghdad, even as Kurdish forces in the north took control of Kirkuk in an attempt to keep out the jihadists.
In some soft economic news, a Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan report showed an unexpected deterioration in US consumer sentiment in June, with consumer expectations taking a hit. Meanwhile, US producer prices in May showed an unexpected drop due partly to a notable decline in prices for trade services.
Gold for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, inched up USD0.10 to close at USD1,274.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.
Gold for August delivery scaled an intraday high of USD1,277.60 and a low of USD1,270.90 an ounce.
On Thursday, gold futures jumped to end at a three-week high with investors seeking the safe haven of the precious metal with global equity markets trending lower.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, remained unchanged at 787.08 tons on Friday, from its previous close.
The dollar index, which tracks the US unit against six major currencies, traded at 80.67 on Friday, up from its previous close of 80.59 late Thursday in North American trade. The dollar scaled a high of 80.71 intraday and a low of 80.44.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at USD1.3531 on Friday, as compared to its previous close of USD1.3552 late Thursday in North American trade. The euro scaled a high of USD1.3580 intraday and a low of USD1.3522.
In economic news from the US, a report from the Labor Department revealed producer prices for trade services unexpectedly decreased 0.2% in May, after climbing 0.6% in April. Economists expected prices to inch up by 0.1%. Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices edged down by 0.1% in May following a 0.5% increase in April. Economists expected core prices to tick up by 0.1%.
A Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan report on Friday showed US consumer sentiment in June deteriorated unexpectedly with the preliminary reading coming in at 81.2 compared to the final May reading of 81.9. Economists expected the index to climb to a reading of 83.0.
The decrease was due partly to a drop in the gauge of consumer expectations, which dropped to 72.2 in June from 73.7 in May. The report also showed the barometer of current economic conditions to have inched up to 95.4 in June from 94.5 in the previous month.
Meanwhile, China's industrial production and retail sales growth accelerated in May, suggesting the economy may well be on the path to recovery. China's industrial production grew at a pace of 8.8% year-on-year in May, following April's 8.7% increase, a report from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday. This was in line with economists' expectations.
China's Retail sales advanced by a more-than-expected 12.5% annually in May, faster than the 11.9% rise seen a month ago. Sales were expected to rise by 12.1%.