WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Gold prices edged down to one-week low on Thursday as the dollar stayed steady against most major currencies after the European Central Bank lowered eurozone growth projections for the coming year.
The ECB President's warning that the 'balance of risks is moving to the downside,' and the lowering of GDP and inflation forecasts for the eurozone resulted in the euro losing ground against the greenback.
Gold's losses, however, were limited due to rising expectations that the Federal Reserve will pause monetary tightening in the coming year. The Fed, which is likely to raise interest rate by 25 basis points after its policy meeting next Wednesday, is also expected to cut its forecast of 2019 rate increases.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he hopes the Fed 'won't be raising interest rates anymore.'
Gold futures for February ended down $2.60, or 0.2%, at $1,247.40 an ounce.
On Wednesday, gold futures ended up $2.80, or 0.2%, at $1,250.00 an ounce.
Silver futures for March settled at $14.855 an ounce, down slightly from Wednesday's close of $14.851 an ounce.
Copper futures for March ended at $2.767 per pound. On Wednesday, copper futures settled at $2.770 per poiund.
The dollar index was up by about 0.07% at 97.08, after rising above 97.25 earlier in the day.
The ECB, which left interest rates unchanged on Thursday, officially ended asset purchase program but promised to keep feeding stimulus into an economy struggling with an unexpected slowdown and political turmoil.
In U.S. economic news, a report from the Labor Department showed a much steeper than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended December 8th. The report said initial jobless claims fell to 206,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week's revised level of 233,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to slip to 225,000.
Jobless claims pulled back further off the nearly eight-month high reached two weeks ago to hit their lowest level in almost three months.
Another report from the Labor Department said import prices plunged by much more than expected in the month of November amid a steep drop in fuel prices. According to the report, import prices plummeted by 1.6% in November after climbing by 0.5%%. in October. Economists had expected import prices to slump by 0.9%. The report said export prices tumbled by 0.9% in November following an upwardly revised 0.5% advance in October.
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