Gold trade stagnant as Christmas nears

Gold futures edged higher in the US in a shortened session ahead of Christmas, which could result in outsized movements due to a lack of liquidity.
Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was last up $4.10 or 0.4 percent at $1,072.40 per ounce. The trading range is characteristically narrow, with a low at $1,069.50 and a high of $1,073.90.
Precious metal trading on the CME ceases at 11:30 central time today. In the interim, with many investors on the sidelines over the next week, the complex could experience choppy trading.
After the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate rise last week, trading remains cautious while investors assess conditions in a non-zero bound environment for the first time in seven years.
Gold trade stagnant
“We thought the markets might have become more directional by now but there are still a lot of cross-currents at work from higher US interest rates, falling commodity prices (generally) – especially oil (although it has been getting some lift recently) – and largely firm equity prices,” FastMarkets’ William Adams said.
In physical news, Macquarie estimated Chinese gold imports in November at 145 tonnes, down on the 160 tonnes estimated for October but higher than the year-to-date monthly average of 126 tonnes.
“The strong figures contrast, as has been the case for a while now, with reports of weak jewellery sales, implying gold is being stockpiled,” it said in a note.
In a light economic data day, US weekly unemployment claims came in at 267,000, slightly better than the forecast of 270,000 and under the psychological 300,000 mark.
Turning to wider markets, Germany’s DAX was up 2.3 percent, while France’s CAC-40 declined 0.2 percent. The dollar was last 0.2 percent softer at 1,0936 against the euro.
The single currency has gained almost four percent against the greenback in December, with the Fed’s widely anticipated interest-rate rise priced in and the ECB delivering a smaller-than-expected package of monetary easing measures earlier this month.
As for other precious metals, Comex silver for March settlement ticked up 1.8 cents or 0.1 percent to $14.305 per ounce. Trade has ranged from $14.265 to $14.350.
Platinum for January delivery rose $6.80 to $874.90 per ounce, while the most actively traded palladium contract stood at $556.55 per ounce, up $3.35.
source: bullion desk

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