Investing.com - Gold prices remained at one-and-a-half week lows on Thursday, as the release of upbeat U.S. jobless claims data was expected to add further strength to the dollar after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy minutes pointed to the need for further interest rate hikes.
Comex gold futures were down 0.47% at $1,325.8 a troy ounce by 08:35 a.m. ET (12:35 GMT), the lowest since February 14.
The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that initial jobless claims fell by 7,000 to 222,000 last week, compared to expectations for jobless claims to total 230,000.
The data came a day after the minutes of the Fed's January policy meeting showed that central bank officials see increased economic growth and rising inflation as justification to continue to raise interest rates gradually.
Gold is sensitive to moves in both U.S. rates and the dollar. A stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of foreign currency, while a rise in U.S. rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 90.00, just off a one-and-a-half week high of 90.17 hit overnight.
The dollar had been pressured lower recently by expectations for a faster pace of monetary tightening outside the U.S., which would lessen the divergence between the Fed and other central banks.
Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures lost 0.79% to $16.49 a troy ounce.
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