WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Gold futures ended modestly higher Friday, on continued hopes of additional monetary stimulus from central banks worldwide after some weak Chinese export and import growth data. The dollar dropped against a basket of major currencies, largely ignoring the soft Chinese trade numbers.
Chinese export and import growth slowed more than expected in July, adding to a string of downbeat data released this week. The data paints a bleak economic picture, especially as the world's second largest economy has seen its GDP growth ease to the lowest in more than three years in the second quarter.
Gold for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained $2.60 or 0.2 percent to close at $1,622.80 an ounce Friday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold for December delivery traded at an intraday high of $1,629.70 and a low of $1,606.60 an ounce.
Gold prices gained almost 1 percent for the week.
Yesterday, gold ended higher after inflation data from China fueled hopes of further quantitative easing. Inflation in China eased for a fourth straight month to reach a 30-month low in July, paving way for the policymakers to go ahead with stimulus measures to counter a slowdown in economic growth.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at $1.2294 on Friday, as compared to $1.2306 late Thursday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.2316 intraday and a low of $1.2242.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 82.54 on Friday, down from from 82.60 in North American trade late Thursday. The dollar scaled a high of 82.87 intraday and a low of 82.44.
China's exports grew just 1 percent year-on-year in July, decelerating from the 11.3 percent growth reported for June, figures from the General Administration of Customs showed Friday. Economists had forecast a relatively modest slowdown to 8 percent.
Chinese imports also rose at a slower rate in July. Overseas purchases increased at a pace of 4.7 percent year-on-year compared to a 6.3 percent rise in June. Economists expected import growth to pick up to a 7 percent pace.
In other economic news, U.S. import prices unexpectedly decreased in July, a report by the Labor Department showed, but indicated an unexpected increase in export prices. Import prices fell by 0.6 percent after tumbling by 2.4 percent in June. The continued drop surprised economists, who had expected import prices to increase by 0.2 percent.
From the eurozone, Germany's EU harmonized inflation came in below the preliminary estimates In July, final data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed. The harmonized index of consumer prices measured under the EU methodology, increased 1.9 percent annually in July, slightly slower than the 2 percent gain estimated earlier. In June, the inflation rate was 2 percent.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX