- Gold and silver futures rose to the highest level in more than three months on Thursday, amid expectations the Federal Reserve will keep rates on hold for an extended period of time after the bank’s bond-buying program ends.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery rose to a session high of $1,345.70 a troy ounce, the most since March 19, before trimming gains to last trade at $1,342.20 during U.S. morning hours, up 1.35%, or $17.90.

Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,312.10, the low from July 7 and resistance at $1,358.90, the high from March 19.

Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery rallied 2.11%, or 44.5 cents, to trade at $21.52 a troy ounce, the highest since March 16.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting released Wednesday showed that officials agreed to end the central bank’s asset purchase program in October.

However, the minutes revealed little new information on when the bank could start to hike rates. The central bank acknowledged that the economy is continuing to improve but officials remain divided over the outlook for inflation.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery declined 0.42%, or 1.4 cents, to trade at $3.235 a pound.

Data released earlier showed that Chinese exports in June climbed 7.2% from a year earlier, missing expectations for a gain of 10.6%, while imports rose 5.5%, below forecasts for a 5.8% increase.

China’s trade surplus narrowed to $31.6 billion last month from a surplus of $35.92 billion in May, compared to estimates for a surplus of $35.0 billion.

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

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