Investing.com - Gold prices extended losses to hit a two-week low on Thursday, as investors awaited key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery traded at USD1,236.70 a troy ounce during European morning trade, down 0.15%.
Gold prices fell to a session low of USD1,231.30 a troy ounce earlier in the day, the lowest since January 10.
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The February contract settled 0.26% lower, or USD3.20, on Wednesday to end at USD1,238.60. Futures were likely to find support at USD1,227.00 a troy ounce, the low from January 10 and resistance at USD1,262.00, the high from January 21.
Meanwhile, silver for March delivery shed 0.25% to trade at USD19.78 a troy ounce. Comex silver prices hit a daily low of USD19.64 a troy ounce earlier, the weakest level since January 10.
The March contract ended Wednesday’s session down 0.16% to settle at USD19.83 a troy ounce.
The U.S. is to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims later in the day as well as a private sector report on existing home sales.
Gold and silver prices have been under pressure in recent sessions amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue tapering its stimulus program at the outcome of its next policy meeting on January 29 to USD65 billion from the current USD75 billion.
Worries over a slowdown in physical demand in China also weighed. The Asian nation is the world''s largest bullion consumer.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for March delivery fell 0.5% to trade at USD3.320 a pound.
Data released earlier showed that China’s HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest indicator of the country''s industrial activity, fell to a six-month low of 49.6 in January from a final reading of 50.5 in December.
China is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.