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Gold scores minor gain on weaker dollar


08:31, March 08, 2013

CHICAGO, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange scored a minor gain Thursday, buoyed by weakness in the U.S. dollar, but remarks from the European Central Bank president on the euro zone and a better-than- expected batch of U.S. data kept its rise in check.

The most active gold contract for April delivery advanced 0.2 dollars, or 0.01 percent, to settle at 1,575.1 dollars per ounce. Sentiment toward gold has shifted since the start of the year and become notably more bearish, as evidenced by the big increase in COMEX short positions last month, according to market analysts.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept rates unchanged at 0.75 percent and the Bank of England stood put at 0.5 percent, with the latter making no changes to its quantitative- easing program. The euro traded higher against the dollar following the central bank decisions.

The greenback's weakness helped boost demand for dollar- denominated gold. The ICE dollar index traded at 82.064, down from 82.490 late Wednesday in North America.

ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank sees Europe's economy picking up in late 2013, but reduced growth projections for the year. He said the bank's monetary stance will remain accommodative, reports say. U.S. weekly jobless claims hit a five- year low, falling 7,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 340,000, bucking expectations for a rise.

Upbeat news on the U.S. economy tends to dull gold's attractiveness as a safe-haven investment. Given that backdrop, silver for May delivery rose 0.5 cents, or 0.02 percent, to close at 28.808 dollars per ounce.

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