- Gold prices declined on Thursday, with traders focused on Friday''s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report and the European Central Bank''s policy meeting later Thursday.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery held in a range between $1,331.40 a troy ounce and $1,339.20 an ounce.

Prices last traded at $1,332.20 an ounce during European morning hours, down 0.6%, or $8.10. Gold futures picked up 0.18%, or $2.40 an ounce, to settle at $1,340.30 on Wednesday.

Prices were likely to find support at $1,319.30 a troy ounce, the low from February 28 and resistance at $1,355.00, the high from March 3.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery shed 0.7%, or $0.15 cents, to trade at $21.12 a troy ounce. The May contract ended Wednesday’s session up 0.23%, or $0.05 cents, to settle at $21.27 an ounce.

Market players looked ahead to 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.

The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as data on factory orders. Investors were also beginning to turn their attention to Friday’s highly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for February.

The Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book released Wednesday that severe winter weather across much of the U.S. took a toll on consumer spending in recent weeks, leading to slower growth and a contraction in some parts of the country.

Meanwhile, in the euro zone, traders will be awaiting the outcome of the ECB’s policy meeting later Thursday. While no policy change was expected from the central bank, focus will be on forward guidance and hints about future easing.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for May delivery inched down 0.15% to trade at $3.198 a pound.

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