Washington (June 30) Gold futures ended slightly higher on Monday, with dollar trending lower against a basket of few select currencies even as investors await some key economic indicators later this week including the monthly US employment data.
Gold prices jumped 6.1% for the month, while recording a gain of 3% for the quarter ended June.
Meanwhile, a Bloomberg report indicated gold shipments into India may have plunged 77% in the first half amid government restrictions such as higher taxes on bullion imports.
In economic news, a National Association of Realtors report on Monday showed pending home sales in the US rose much more than anticipated in May. Meanwhile, Chicago business activity expanded at a slower than expected pace in June, a report from MNI Indicators showed.
Elsewhere, some disappointing German retail sales data raised expectations of further monetary easing from the European Central Bank , putting a floor under gold prices.
Eurozone inflation remained unchanged at a very low level in June, which may prompt the central bank to undertake more actions to calm fears of deflation and kick start the flattening recovery.
Gold for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained USD2.00 or 0.2% to close at USD1,322.00 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday.
Gold for August delivery scaled an intraday high of USD1,323.10 and a low of USD1,311.00 an ounce.
On Friday, gold futures ended higher as the dollar trended lower, although gains were limited on concerns over the ongoing violence in Iraq .
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, remained unchanged at 785.02 tons on Monday from its previous close.
The dollar index, which tracks the US unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.79 on Monday, down from its previous close of 80.02 late Friday in North American trade. The dollar scaled a high of 80.09 intraday and a low of 79.76.
The euro traded higher against the dollar at USD1.3691 on Monday, as compared to its previous close of USD1.3645 late Friday in North American trade. The euro scaled a high of USD1.3697 intraday and a low of USD1.3640 .
In economic news from the US, a National Association of Realtors report on Monday showed its pending home sales index jumped 6.1% to 103.9 in May from 97.9 in April, while economists expected the index to rise by about 1.0%. A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed, which normally takes four to six weeks.
Meanwhile, MNI said its Chicago business barometer fell to 62.6 in June from 65.5 in May. While a reading above 50 indicates continued growth, economists had expected the barometer to edge to down to 64.0. Despite the monthly decrease, the Chicago business barometer indicated the fourteenth consecutive month of growth and remained above 60 for the third month in a row.
German retail sales fell unexpectedly in May, data from the country’s statistics office showed Monday. Sales on the month decreased by 0.6% in May in adjusted terms.
Eurozone inflation remained stable at 0.5% in June, flash estimate from Eurostat showed Monday. It was forecast to rise slightly to 0.6%.