Gold ends a tad higher as crude oil price rallies

February 17, 2012 9:14 am 

CHICAGO, Feb. 17 — Gold futures on the COMEX Division of the New York Mercantile Exchange ended a tad higher on Thursday, as upbeat U.S. economic data boosted U.S. dollar, reducing the appeal of precious metal as an alternative asset, but the strong rally in crude oil price offered some support.

The most active gold contract for April delivery added 0.3 dollars, or 0.02 percent, to 1,728.4 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008.

The U.S. dollar moved sharply higher earlier in the session, as the upbeat job report indicated that the U.S. economy is bouncing back.

Meanwhile, the lingering concerns over euro-zone uncertainty also drive many investors to the safe-haven currencies like greenback, adding downward pressure to the dollar-denominated commodities like gold.

But the greenback turned lower during mid-session, giving back earlier gains, as hopes that a Greek bond swap deal could be within reach fueled market optimism.

And the reversal of dollar's gains also bolstered crude oil gains, fueling inflation concerns. Gold pared earlier losses on the last hour of trading session, as many investment advisers recommend gold as a hedge against inflation.

Silver for March delivery dropped 3.8 cents, or 0.1 percent, to 33.37 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery trimmed 12.1 dollars, or 0.7 percent, to 1,626.1 dollars per ounce. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/mmg

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