Investing.com Gold prices rose Monday in Asia following China fourth quarter GDP and December industrial production and retail sales data that showed a slightly weaker than expected trend.

China''s GDP rose 7.7% in the fourth quarter from a year ago, slower than the 7.8% it posted in the third quarter, according to data released Monday by China''s National Bureau of Statistics. For the year it also posted 7.7% growth, matching 2012.

Year-on-year industrial production in December grew by 9.7%, which was less than the expectation of 9.8%. Retail sales in China rose 13.6% in December from a year earlier, in line with expectations.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery rose 0.36% on Monday during Asian trade.

In the earlier day, the gold prices hit a session low of USD1,252.40 and a high of 1261.30 a troy ounce. Futures were likely to find support at USD1,233.50 a troy ounce, the low from January 15 and resistance at USD1,262.90, the high from December 11.

Last week, the February Comex gold contract added 0.39%, the fourth consecutive weekly gain.

Meanwhile, silver for March delivery was up 0.15% a troy ounce. During the last week March silver futures inched up 0.39%.

Investors continued to watch U.S. data points for clues on the future course of monetary policy and to help assess the timing for a further reduction in the Fed’s bond purchasing program.

U.S. housing starts fell 9.8% last month, more than the 8.3% decline forecast by analysts. U.S. building permits rose less-than-expected in December, but remained close to November’s five year highs.

Separate reports showed that U.S. industrial production rose 0.3% in December, increasing for the fifth consecutive month, while consumer sentiment declined in January.
The Fed is scheduled to meet January 28-29 to review the economy and assess policy. Expectations of monetary stimulus tend to benefit gold, as the precious metal is seen as a safe store of value and inflation hedge.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper for March delivery inched up 0.26% on Monday. China is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last y

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