Gold prices fell on Friday as the stronger dollar outweighed concerns about uncertainty surrounding U.S. policy and upcoming elections in Europe. The precious metal still notched up a weekly gain of 0.35% as uncertainty over the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump spurred safe haven demand for bullion. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.44% to 100.89 late Friday, reversing Thursday’s 0.72% drop and leaving it up 0.16% for the week Elsewhere in precious metals trading, silver was at $17.97 a troy ounce late Friday, and ended the week with gains of 0.25%. Data on Wednesday showed that U.S. consumer price inflation jumped 0.6% in January, the biggest increase in almost four years. Another report showed that U.S. retail sales also outstripped expectations, increasing 0.4% last month. The upbeat data came a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in testimony to the U.S. Senate that the bank is on course to raise interest rates at one of its forthcoming meetings. Oil futures added a few pennies on Friday, but posted their first weekly decline in five weeks as concerns over rising production and swelling stockpiles in the U.S. offset efforts by major producers to cut enough output to reduce a global glut. For the week, New York-traded oil futures slumped 46 cents, or nearly snapping a four-week winning streak. Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that crude supplies rose by 9.5 million barrels last week to an all-time high of 518.0 million barrels. OPEC and non-OPEC countries have made a strong start to lowering their oil output. Latest data showed the group’s production in January declined by 890,000 barrels a day from the previous month to 32.14 million barrels a day. The drop indicates a 90% compliance level so far. Natural Gas sank 2.0 cents, or almost 0.7%, to a three-month low of $2.834 per million British thermal units. It posted a weekly loss of around 7%. Copper was down 0.39% at $2.708 a pound and ended the week down 2.55% amid profit taking, but prices looked set to remain supported amid concerns over supply disruptions. A strike at BHP Billiton Escondida in Chile, the world’s largest copper mine, has boosted sentiment as has an output halt at Freeport-McMoRan’s giant Grasberg mine in Indonesia. In the holiday shortened week ahead, the Fed is to publish the minutes of its February meeting on Wednesday, which will be scrutinized for clues on the timing of the next rate hike. Investors will be looking to U.S. housing data in order to see whether the rise in consumer spending and inflation is translating into higher house prices and a pick-up in home sales. Markets will also be watching survey data on private sector activity in the euro zone on Tuesday.
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