Gold futures climbed Thursday in electronic trade, on track for a second consecutive advance, supported by strengthening physical demand for the precious metal and downbeat U.S. economic figures.
Gold for June delivery GCM3 +1.44% pushed higher by $21.90, or 1.5%, to $1,445.90 an ounce in Asian trading hours.
The contract on Wednesday rose $14.90, or 1.1%, on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gain came as orders for U.S. durable goods fell by a seasonally adjusted 5.7% in March, worse than the 3.2% decline expected by economists polled by MarketWatch.
The generally soft data followed reports that manufacturing activity slowed toward the end of the first quarter, reinforcing worries about sluggishness in the broader U.S. economy.
Further evidence of economic slowing would likely prevent the U.S. Federal Reserve from signaling an early exit from quantitative easing, a monetary policy that’s been supportive for gold, some analysts have said.
Investors will receive weekly U.S. jobless claims data later Thursday. Reports on first-quarter gross domestic product and consumer sentiment in April are slated for release Friday.
Gold prices have had a rough April, with a tumble of nearly 11% putting them in position for their worst monthly slide since September 2011. But analysts have said that global physical demand for gold is still strong.
The U.S. Mint this week stopped sales of its smallest-denomination gold bullion coins as demand reduced government inventories. Year to date, demand for the one-tenth-ounce coins have more than doubled compared with the same time a year ago, the U.S. Mint said in a memo to authorized purchasers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
There have been other reports about shortages of gold bars and coins in some countries, according to Jim Wycoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com.
Source: Market Watch