Gold prices edged higher on Friday but were still hovering near a three-week trough, as the greenback remained broadly supported after recent upbeat U.S. data and the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for August delivery were up 0.14% at $1,256.40. The August contract ended Thursday's session 1.67% lower at $1,254.60 an ounce. Futures were likely to find support at $1,250.90, the low of May 24, and resistance at $1,268.50, Thursday's high.
The greenback gained ground after the release on Thursday of encouraging data on U.S. initial jobless claims, as well as on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia and New York areas.
The data came a day after the Fed raised interest rates from 1.00% to 1.25%, in a widely expected move.
However, disappointing U.S. inflation data released the same day raised questions about whether the central bank will be able to hike rates again later this year.
On Friday morning, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 97.44, close to Thursday's two-week high of 97.56.
Gold is sensitive to moves higher in both U.S. rates and the dollar. A stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of foreign currency, while a rise in U.S. rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.
Market participants were now looking ahead to U.S. housing sector and consumer sentiment due later on Friday for further indications on the strength of the economy.
Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for July delivery edged up 0.13% to $16.737 a troy ounce, while copper futures for July delivery fell 0.33% to $2.557 a pound.