Gold prices edged lower in Asian trade on Friday as stocks firmed and the U.S. dollar rose on expectations the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by year-end. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,256.50 an ounce by 0059 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,258.50 an ounce.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, gained 0.1 percent to 97.613. Asian stocks edged higher and the dollar bounced on Friday as global markets took a breather after being churned by downbeat Chinese economic data the previous day.
Markets will next look to Friday’s U.S. retail sales data and remarks from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who will address a Boston Fed economics conference at which Boston Fed governor Eric Rosengren will also speak. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits held at a 43-year low last week, pointing to sustained labour market strength that could pave the way for the Fed to raise interest rates in December. The U.S. central bank may want to hold off on monetary policy changes until after the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said on Thursday.
China’s September exports fell 10 percent from a year earlier, far worse than expected, while imports unexpectedly shrank after picking up in August, suggesting signs of steadying in the world’s second-largest economy may be short-lived. Azerbaijan’s top gold producer Anglo Asian Mining said on Thursday its January-September output was 7.8 percent lower than in the same period last year at 49,874 ounces and it was cutting its 2016 production target. Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.28 percent to 961.57 tonnes on Thursday. South Africa’s mining output fell 0.2 pct in August, according to Statistics South Africa’s monthly mining production data released on Thursday.