Investing.com - Gold futures ended Friday’s session close to a three-month high, as weaker-than-expected U.S. housing data forced investors to recalibrate their assumptions about the future course of the Federal Reserve''s monetary policy.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose to a session high of $1,328.80 a troy ounce on Friday, the most since February 18, before trimming gains to settle at $1,323.60 by close of trade, up 0.51% on the day and 0.37% higher for the week.
Comex gold prices ended Thursday’s down 0.27% to settle at $1,316.90 a troy ounce.
Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,307.10 a troy ounce, the low from February 20 and resistance at USD1,332.40, the high from February 18.
Meanwhile, silver for March delivery picked up 0.45% on Friday to close the week at $21.78 a troy ounce. On Thursday, silver prices settled 0.76% lower at $21.68 an ounce.
The March silver futures contract advanced 1.65% on the week, the third consecutive weekly gain.
Data on Friday showed that U.S. existing home sales fell by a larger-than-forecast 5.1% in January to hit an 18-month low.
This weak report came one day after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index deteriorated to a 12-month low of minus 6.3 in February from January’s reading of 9.4.
The recent patch of soft U.S. economic data fuelled concerns that the recovery has lost momentum since the end of last year as inclement winter weather weighed on growth.
Gold received additional support after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s January meeting published Wednesday indicated that U.S. monetary policy will remain accommodative.
According to the minutes, officials agreed the current pace of reductions to the central bank’s asset purchase program would remain unchanged, so long as the economy shows signs of improvement.
In the week ahead, market players will continue to pay close attention to U.S. economic data releases for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
The U.S. is to publish revised data on fourth quarter economic growth, while data on durable goods orders and consumer confidence will also be in focus.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending February 18.
Net longs totaled 90,942 contracts, compared to net longs of 67,291 in the preceding week.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper for March delivery rose 0.37% on Friday to settle the week at USD3.264 a pound. Comex copper prices added 0.82% on the week, the third consecutive weekly advance.