Gold Price Ends Lower On Global Cues

New York (May 21)  Gold futures ended lower on Thursday, with investors continuing to mull over the Federal Reserve's minutes for its April meeting, amid a slew of disappointing economic data from the US and  Europe  .

Gold prices were under pressure after failing to get any lift from yesterday's dovish Federal Reserve minutes. US policy makers appeared reluctant to raise interest rates in June due to concerns over the pace of economic recovery, the minute showed. Incoming data since that meeting on  April 29-30  will have only generated further anxiety, as retail sales were unexpectedly flat last month.

In some disappointing economic news from the US, a  Labor Department  report on Thursday showed a bigger than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended  May 16  , although the four-week moving average of claims fell to a new fifteen-year low.

The  National Association of Realtors'  report showed an unexpected decrease in existing home sales in the US in April, with lagging supply relative to demand putting upward pressure on home prices.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of  Philadelphia's   Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey  showed regional manufacturing activity in May to have increased at a slower rate.

Meanwhile, flash data from  Markit  on Thursday showed the eurozone economy lost growth momentum for a second successive month in May, while eurozone consumer confidence deteriorated for a second straight month in May and at a faster-than-expected pace.

Gold for June delivery, the most actively traded contract, shed  USD4.60  or 0.4% to settle at  USD1,204.10  an ounce, on the Comex division of the  New York Mercantile Exchange  on Thursday.

Gold for June delivery scaled an intraday high of  USD1,212.40  and a low of  USD1,200.80  an ounce.

On Wednesday, gold futures ended higher at  USD1,208.70  , up  USD2.00  or 0.2%, as the dollar trended higher against a basket of some select currencies.

Holdings of  SPDR Gold Trust  , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, edged lower to 715.26 tons on Thursday from its previous close of 718.24 tons.

The dollar index, which tracks the US unit against six major currencies, traded at 95.32 on Thursday, down from its previous close of 95.59 on Wednesday in late North American trade. The dollar scaled a high of 95.65 intraday and a low of 94.97.

The euro trended higher against the dollar at  USD1.1123  on Thursday, as compared to its previous close of  USD1.1096  in North American trade late Wednesday. The euro scaled a high of  USD1.1186  intraday and a low of  USD1.1081  .

On the economic front, a  Labor Department  report on Thursday showed a bigger than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended  May 16  , although the four-week moving average of claims dropped to a new fifteen-year low. Initial jobless claims climbed to 274,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 264,000. Economists expected jobless claims to increase to about 270,000.

The  National Association of Realtors  Thursday revealed an unexpected decrease in existing home sales in the US in April, with lagging supply relative to demand putting upward pressure on home prices. NAR said existing home sales fell 3.3% to an annual rate of 5.04 million in April from an upwardly revised 5.21 million in March. Economists expected existing home sales at 5.24 million from the 5.19 million originally reported for the previous month.

Firms responding to the Federal Reserve Bank of  Philadelphia's   Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey  revealed that regional manufacturing activity unexpectedly increased at a slower rate in May.

A report released by the Philly Fed on Thursday showed its diffusion index of current activity to have dipped to 6.7 in May from 7.5 in April. While a positive reading indicates continued growth in regional manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to inch up to 8.0.

Suggesting the paltry economic growth in the first quarter may be temporary, a Conference Board report on Thursday showed its index of leading US economic indicators rose much more than anticipated in April.  The Conference Board's  said its leading economic index advanced 0.7% in April after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.4% in March. Economists expected the index to rise by 0.3% compared to the 0.2% increase originally reported for the previous month.

On the economic front, the manufacturing sector in  China  remained in contraction in May, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from  HSBC  revealed on Thursday with a two-month high PMI score of 49.1. That was shy of expectations for a score of 49.3, although it was up from 48.9 in April. It also remained beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

Eurozone consumer confidence deteriorated for a second straight month in May and at a faster-than-expected pace, preliminary estimates from the  European Commission  showed Thursday. The flash consumer confidence index dropped to -5.5. from -4.6 in April. Economists had forecast a score of -4.8.

The euro area current account surplus declined for the second consecutive month in March, with the drop more than the expectations of economists, due to a decrease in the surplus on goods trade and lower primary income, data published by the  European Central Bank  showed Thursday.

The current account surplus dropped to a seasonally adjusted  EUR 18.6 billion  from  EUR 27.3 billion  in February. Economists expected a bigger surplus of  26 billion euros  .

The Eurozone economy lost growth momentum for a second successive month in May, flash data from  Markit  showed Thursday. The composite Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 53.4 in May from 53.9 in April. The reading was expected to remain unchanged at 53.9.

 Germany's  private sector grew at the slowest pace in five months in May, flash survey data from  Markit  revealed Thursday. The flash composite output index fell to 52.8 in May, a 5-month low, from 54.1 in April. Despite signaling an expansion, the rate of growth was the weakest in 2015 so far.

The French private sector expanded at a moderate pace in May, flash survey data from  Markit  showed Thursday. The flash composite output index rose to 51 in May from 50.6 in April. The private sector output grew for the fourth consecutive month in May.

 UK  retail sales recovered at a faster-than-expected pace on clothing demand in April, providing a notable support to economic growth at the start of second quarter. The volume of retail sales including auto fuel expanded 1.2% month-on-month reversing a 0.7% fall in March, the  Office for National Statistics  reported Thursday. This was the fastest growth since November and exceeded a 0.4% rise forecast by economists.

Source: AllianceNews