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Gold Futures Settle Lower As Traders Weigh Virus Impact, Central Banks' Moves

Gold prices drifted lower on Thursday as the dollar stayed firm and data from the Labor Department showed jobless claims dropped in the week ended June 13th.

However, the yellow metal’s slide was not any substantially pronounced as worries about the outlook for the economy limited the commodity’s slide.

The dollar index rose to 97.58 this afternoon, gaining about 0.45% from previous close. The greenback strengthened as reports showing a surge in number of coronavirus cases in Beijing and as well as several U.S. states raised concerns the global economy may not see a quick recovery.

With the road back from recession likely to take some time, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress on Wednesday not to pull back too quickly on federal relief for households and small businesses.

Gold futures for August ended down $4.50 or about 0.3% at $1,731.10 an ounce.

Silver futures for July declined $0.267 to $17.508 an ounce, while Copper futures for July settled at $2.5880 an ounce, down $0.0015 from previous session.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, led by Governor Andrew Bailey, today announced additional quantitative easing and left its interest rate unchanged at a record low to combat the sharp recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The MPC raised the size of the asset purchase programme by GBP 100 billion to GBP 745 billion and said they are ready to take further action as required to support the economy and ensure a sustained return of inflation to the 2% target.

Switzerland’s central bank kept its expansionary monetary policy stance as it expects the economy to contract the most in over five decades and inflation to remain more negative than forecast earlier, this year due to the impact of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, and the lockdown restrictions imposed to slow the pandemic.

In U.S. economic news, data from the Labor Department showed jobless claims dropped to 1.508 million in the week ended June 13th, a decrease of 58,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 1.566 million. Economists had expected jobless claims to tumble to 1.300 million from the 1.542 million originally reported for the previous week.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 2.8% in May after plunging by 6.1% in April and 7.5 percent in March. Economists had expected the index to climb by 1.7%.

Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity unexpected expanded in the month of June, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity skyrocketed to a positive 27.5 in June from a negative 43.1 in May, with a positive reading indicating an expansion in regional manufacturing activity.

Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest increase to a negative 23.0, which would have still indicated a contraction.

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