Investing.com - Gold prices eased in Asia on Friday on continued expectations that the Federal Reserve will wind down monthly asset purchases this year and begin hiking benchmark interest rates in 2015.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery traded at $1,293.90 a troy ounce, down 0.07%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,291.40 and off a high of $1,307.40.
A fresh batch of improving U.S. economic indicators kept expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will wind down monthly asset purchases this year and hike rates the next, which strengthened the dollar on Thursday.
Gold and the dollar tend to trade inversely with one another.
The Fed''s asset-purchasing program, currently set at $55 billion in Treasury and mortgage debt a month, weakens the dollar by suppressing long-term interest rates to spur investing and hiring, thus boosted gold''s appeal as a hedge.
The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. gross domestic product was revised up to 2.6% in the final three months of 2013, from a preliminary estimate of 2.4%. Market expectations had been for an upward revision to 2.7%.
Still, the report showed that personal spending was revised up to 3.3% from 2.6% initially, the fastest rate of growth in three years, which drew applause from investors.
Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the U.S. last week declined by 10,000 to a 311,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 321,000.
Analysts were expecting jobless claims to rise by 4,000.
Thursday''s data fueled already growing opinions that a spate of disappointing economic indicators released earlier in the year were the product of rough winter weather and not due to an underlying decline in demand.
Investors shrugged off a National Association of Realtors report revealing that its pending home sales index dropped by 0.8% last month, disappointing expectations for a 0.3% gain.
Pending home sales for January were revised down to a 0.2% decline from a previously reported gain of 0.1%.
Year-on-year, pending home sales fell at annualized rate of 10.2% in February, worse than expectations for a 8.5% decline, after declining 9.3% in January, though rough winter weather may have been a factor.
Meanwhile, silver for May delivery rose 0.44% at US$19.795 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery were up 0.51% at US$3.008 a pound.