- Gold futures traded above the key $1,300-level on Thursday, as investors 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.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for August delivery tacked on 0.42%, or $5.50, to trade at $1,305.30 a troy ounce during European morning hours.

Prices held in a tight range between $1,298.20 and $1,308.80. Gold ended Wednesday’s session up 0.21%, or $2.70, to settle at $1,299.80 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,292.60, the low from July 15 and resistance at $1,314.40, the high from July 15.

Gold prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions amid speculation that the Federal Reserve could hike U.S. interest rates sooner than expected.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said earlier in the week that the central bank could start raising interest rates sooner than expected if the U.S. labor market continues to improve more quickly than anticipated.

However, the Fed chair also said that if the recovery was disappointing monetary policy would remain accommodative.

The U.S. was to publish reports on initial jobless claims, housing starts, building permits, and the Philly Fed manufacturing index later in the day.

Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery inched up 0.56%, or 11.7 cents, to trade at $20.89 a troy ounce. Prices fell to $20.63 on Wednesday, the weakest level since June 20.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery dipped 0.15%, or 0.5 cents, to trade at $3.210 a pound, as jitters over a possible bond default in China''s construction sector weighed.

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

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger