Gold Futures Settle At 5-week High

Gold futures settled higher on Thursday as the dollar turned in a somewhat sluggish performance against its peers.

The dollar index, which rose to 96.20 in the Asian session, briefly slipped below the unchanged line in the European session before moving to 96.28. However, it retreated subsequently and dropped to 95.99, netting a loss of nearly 0.1%.

The dollar’s sluggish performance came amid indications that the Omicron coronavirus variant is less severe than the Delta variant.

Research from Imperial College London indicated that the risk of hospitalization for patients infected with the Omicron variant is 40% to 45% lower than Delta cases.

A study in South Africa found that the omicron variant appeared to have a less severe impact than the earlier variants and there is a reduced risk of hospitalizations than in previous waves.

Gold futures for February ended up by $9.50 or about 0.5% at $1,811.70 an ounce, the highest settlement since November 19.

Silver futures for March closed higher by $0.121 at $22.940 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $4.3925 per pound, up $0.0010 from the previous close.

Traders are also reacting to a slew of U.S. economic data, including reports on weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders and personal income and spending.

Data released by the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims came in flat in the week ended December 18th, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level of 205,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 205,000 from the 206,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods surged up by 2.5% in November following a revised 0.1% uptick in October. Economists expected durable goods orders to jump by 1.6% compared to the 0.4% drop that had been reported for the previous month.

Another report from the Commerce Department showed the annual rate of core consumer price growth accelerated to 4.7% in November from 4.2% in October. Economists expected growth to increase to 4.5%.

Meanwhile, the White House said that Democrats will continue negotiations with Senator Joe Manchin on the Build Back Better Act with a vote planned in early 2022.

President Joe Biden insisted that he wanted to “get something done” on the plan targeting social benefits and climate change.

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