- Gold prices rose to a six-month high before turning modestly lower on Monday, following the release of U.S. economic data and as markets appeared to brush off referendum ramifications in Crimea.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose to a session high of $1,392.50 a troy ounce, the most since September 9, before turning lower to last trade at $1,377.40 during U.S. morning hours, down 0.11%, or $1.50.

Gold rose 0.48%, or $6.60 an ounce, on Friday to settle at $1,379.00. Futures were likely to find support at $1,345.60 a troy ounce, the low from March 12 and resistance at $1,399.40, the high from September 5.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery inched down 0.3%, or 6.5 cents, to trade at $21.34 a troy ounce. Silver ended Friday’s session up 1.01%, or 21.5 cents, to settle at $21.41 an ounce.

Data released earlier showed that U.S. industrial production rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in February, easily surpassing forecasts for a 0.1% gain.

The upbeat report came after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its general business conditions index increased to 5.61 this month from a reading of 4.48 in February. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 6.0 in March.

On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions.

The Fed is to kick off its two-day policy-setting meeting on Tuesday, amid expectations for a reduction in its bond buying program to $55 billion from the current $65 billion.

Gold remained supported after results showed that nearly 97% of voters in Crimea chose to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum held on Sunday. The outcome of the vote had been widely anticipated.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people they have linked to the push to have Crimea secede from Ukraine to maybe be annexed by Russia.

U.S. President Barack Obama also imposed sanctions on Russian officials involved in the incursion of Crimea.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for May delivery rose 0.4%, or 1.2 cents, to trade at $2.962 a pound, as investors returned to the market to close out bets on lower prices, a move known as short covering.

The industrial metal fell to $2.908 a pound on March 12, the lowest since July 2010, as mounting concerns over the health of China’s economy dampened demand for growth-linked assets.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

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