U.S. Jobless Claims Data Push Gold Off 3-Week High

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By Brendel Balaga

Gold futures were trading lower in the North American market on Thursday, falling from a three-week high after government figures showed that the number of individuals who applied for unemployment benefits in the United States last week declined unexpectedly.

The Labor department said the number of people applying for jobless benefits dropped by 4,000 to 264,000 last week. Analysts were projecting jobless claims filing to grow by 2,000 to 270,000 from the previous week’s 268,000.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar bounced back on Thursday, after plummeting to five-week lows against competing major currencies.

The dollar index went up 0.3% to 93.87 after falling to 93.41 on Wednesday, a low last hit on May 6.

New York-traded gold for August delivery rallied to an intra day high of $1,269.00 a troy ounce, the highest since May 18. It was trading at $1,261.10 by or 8:37 AM eastern time, off $1.20, or 0.1%.

In the previous session, gold jumped $15.30, or 1.23%, amid falling odds of the Fed hiking interest rates in the near term.

Prices of the yellow metal have gone up nearly 4% so far this month, after giving up more than 6% in May, as investors reacted events that shifted the likelihood of the next U.S. rate increase.

Gold prices are particularly vulnerable to changes in U.S. interest rates, where a swift series of hikes makes gold less appealing to investors.

In related metals trading, silver futures for July delivery gained 3.0 cents, or 0.18%, to trade slightly higher at $17.01 a troy ounce during early trading in New York, while copper futures shed 3.8 cents, or 1.87%, to $2.023 a pound.

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