Gold futures edged higher on Thursday, as investors looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the session for further clues on the health of the economy.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery tacked on 0.24%, or $3.10, to trade at $1,317.70 a troy ounce during European morning hours.
Prices held in a narrow range between $1,311.90 and $1,318.80 an ounce. A day earlier, gold prices eased up 0.3%, or $3.90, to settle at $1,314.50.
Futures were likely to find support at $1,288.50, the low from August 6 and resistance at $1,324.30, the high from August 8.
Markets watchers looked ahead to U.S. weekly jobless claims data later Thursday for further clues over the timing of future interest rate hikes.
The Labor Department is expected to report that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits last week increased by 6,000 to 295,000.
Data on Wednesday showed that U.S. retail sales were flat last month, disappointing expectations for a 0.2% increase. Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, eased up by 0.1%, below forecasts for a gain of 0.4%.
The disappointing data prompted traders to trim bets the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates in the first half of next year.
Meanwhile, market players awaited further developments in Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza, amid ongoing concerns over geopolitical risk.
Gold is often seen as a haven investment in times of geopolitical uncertainty.
Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery rose 0.48%, or 9.5 cents, to trade at $19.94 a troy ounce.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery slumped 0.11%, or 0.3 cents, to trade at an eight-week low of $3.109 a pound after data showed that Germany’s economy contracted in the second quarter while growth in France stagnated.
Germany’s gross domestic product shrank by 0.2% in the three months to June, the first drop since 2012. Economists had forecasts a contraction of 0.1%. First quarter growth was also revised down to 0.7% from 0.8% previously.
Earlier Thursday official data showed that French GDP was flat in the second quarter, the second consecutive quarter of stagnation. Economists had expected an expansion of 0.1%.
Europe as a region is third in global demand for the industrial metal.