Gold Futures End Higher As Dollar, Equities Slide

Gold prices moved higher on Friday, with investors seeking the safe haven asset, after equities tumbled on disappointing economic data out of the U.S. and China and on lingering uncertainty about U.S.-China trade negotiations and Brexit.

The U.S. dollar lost strength and the dollar index dropped to a low of 97.25. It was last seen hovering around 97.30, down more than 0.3% from previous close.

Gold futures for April ended up $13.20, or 1%, at $1,299.30 an ounce.

On Thursday, gold futures for April ended down $1.50, or 0.1%, at $1,286.10 an ounce. Gold futures eked out a small gain of 10 cents in the week.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.309, at $15.349 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.8935, losing $0.0170 in the session.

China today reported worse than expected trade data for the month of February amid a trade dispute with the U.S.

The data showed Chinese exports plummeted 20.7% in February from a year earlier, reflecting weaker demand and distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday. Economists had expected exports to drop 4.8%. Imports were down 5.2% in the month, after a 1.5% decline in January.

In U.S. economic news, data from the Labor Department revealed job growth nearly ground to a halt in February after soaring in January.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment edged up by 20,000 jobs in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 311,000 jobs in January.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 180,000 jobs compared to the spike of 304,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The much weaker than expected job growth in February represented the worst month since the loss of 18,000 jobs in September of 2017, when employment was impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Meanwhile, unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in February from 4% in January, while the annual rate of wage growth accelerated to 3.4% from 3.1%.

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