Gold prices ended higher on Friday as U.S. economic data underscored the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic on business activity and as concerns over U.S.-China trade tensions lifted haven demand for the metal, which scored its highest settlement in a month.
There wasn’t just one data point or factor pushing prices higher on Friday, it was more of “a little of each and not wanting to be short [or] flat gold into the weekend,” Jeff Wright, executive vice president of GoldMining Inc., told MarketWatch. “I think gold is going higher towards $1,800, but still choppy trading days ahead to get there.”
Gold for June delivery on Comex
climbed $15.40, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,756.30 an ounce. Prices for the most-active contract marked their highest settlement since April 14, according to FactSet data.
Meanwhile, July silver
surged 91.4 cents, or 5.7%, to end at $17.07 an ounce, settling above the psychologically significantly $17 level for the first time since early March.
For the week, gold gained 2.5% based on the most-active contract, while silver rallied by 8.2%, according to FactSet data.
Economic data Friday was mostly downbeat. U.S. retail sales tumbled by a record 16.4% in April and fell 16.2% excluding automobile sales and gas price, due to lockdown measures implemented to slow the worst viral outbreak in more than a century.
Meanwhile, a reading on business activity in the New York area, the New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index, rose 29.7 points to minus 48.5 in May, the regional Fed bank said, marking the second-lowest reading on record.
U.S. industrial output fell by a record 11.2% in April, but the preliminary reading of the consumer-sentiment survey in May edged up to 73.7 from 71.8 in April, the University of Michigan said.
Metals also digested reports of rising Sino-American tensions afterPresident Donald Trump moved to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei Technologies, as the U.S. has blamed China for mishandling the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“The souring of US-China relations has been lifting the safe-haven gold, which is fast approaching April’s 7-year high,” wrote Raffi Boyadjian, senior investment analyst at XM, in a daily research note.
Among other metals, July copper
fell by 0.7% to $2.3305 a pound, with most-active contract prices logging a weekly loss of 3.1%. July platinum
tacked on 5.4% to $817.10 an ounce—up 3.5% for the week, and June palladium
rose 3.3% to $1,857.90 an ounce, with prices settling up 2% for the week.