- Gold and silver prices were modestly higher in subdued trade on Monday, as traders continued to speculate over how quickly the Federal Reserve will roll back its stimulus program.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery traded at USD1,254.60 a troy ounce during European morning trade, up 0.2%.

Gold prices held in a range between USD1,252.40 a troy ounce and USD1,261.30 a troy ounce, which was the strongest level since December 11.

The February contract settled up 0.94% on Friday to end at USD1,251.90 a troy ounce. Futures were likely to find support at USD1,237.30 a troy ounce, the low from January 17 and resistance at USD1,262.90, the high from December 11.

Meanwhile, silver for March delivery added 0.2% to trade at USD20.34 a troy ounce. Comex silver prices held in a range between USD20.27 a troy ounce and USD20.42 a troy ounce.

Silver futures were likely to find support at USD19.96 a troy ounce, the low from January 17 and resistance at USD20.67, the high from January 14.

Trade was expected to remain subdued as floor trading on the Comex was to remain closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

According to data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday, hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in gold and silver futures in week ending January 14.

Gross long gold positions rose by 5,066 contracts to 114,002, while gross short positions increased by 2,018 lots to 70,725. Net longs totaled 43,277 contracts, compared to 40,229 in the preceding week.

Meanwhile, gross long silver positions increased by 1,470 contracts to 29,758, while gross short positions fell by 60 lots to 20,967. Net longs totaled 8,791 contracts, compared to 7,261 in the preceding week.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for March delivery fell 0.2% to trade at USD3.339 a pound after official data showed that China’s economy expanded at an annual rate of 7.7% in the fourth quarter, down from 7.8% in the three months to September.

A separate report showed that industrial production in China rose by an annualized rate of 9.7% in December, compared to expectations for a 9.8% increase, after a 10% gain in the previous month.

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

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger