Gold Futures Settle Higher

Gold futures settled higher on Friday as the dollar pared early gains. However, the upside was just modest as global equities gained amid optimism about Chinese economic growth after a top official said the worst was over in the battle against Covid-19.

The dollar index, which climbed to 102.55 earlier in the session on concerns that an economic downturn could be unavoidable, dropped to 102.05 later on in the day, down slightly from the previous close.

Speaking at an event, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams emphasized on Thursday there is ‘more work to do” to bring inflation down to the central bank’s 2 percent target.

“Restoring price stability is essential to achieving maximum employment and stable prices over the longer term, and it is critical that we stay the course until the job is done,” he was quoted as saying.

Markets currently expect that the Fed might end its tightening cycle after a 25-basis point hike at each of its next two policy meetings.

Gold futures for February ended higher by $4.30 or about 0.2% at $1,928.20 an ounce. Gold futures have now gained for a fifth straight week.

Silver futures for March ended up $0.065 at $23.935 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $4.2515 per pound, gaining $0.0200.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a continued decline in U.S. existing home sales in the month of December, although the decrease was much smaller than economists had expected.

NAR said existing home sales slumped by 1.5% to an annual rate of 4.02 million in December after plunging by 7.9% to a revised rate of 4.08 million in November.

Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 3.4% to an annual rate of 3.95 million from the 4.09 million originally reported for the previous month.

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