A weaker dollar helped gold extend gains into the final trading session of the year on Friday, leaving it on track to mark its first annual gain in four years. Spot gold hit its highest in more than two weeks and was up 0.3 percent at $1,161.93 an ounce by 0103 GMT. The metal rose over one percent in the previous session, its biggest daily percentage gain since late September. Gold has risen over 9 percent so far this year despite an 8 percent drop in November, snapping a three-year losing streak. The safe haven asset was poised to register its best weekly gains since early June, having risen about 2.5 percent thus far. However, it is down nearly one percent in December, and about 12 percent for the current quarter. U.S. gold futures rose 0.4 percent to $1,163 per ounce.The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.6 percent at 102.09. A drop in U.S. exports last month pushed the country’s trade deficit in goods higher while the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week in a positive sign for the labor market.
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The Bank of Japan should be flexible about raising its bond yield target and allow long-term interest rates to increase if such moves reflected improvements in the economy, one of its board members was quoted as saying at this month’s rate review. Top consumer China’s net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong dropped 17.84 percent month on month in November, data showed on Thursday.