Gold prices settled modestly lower on Thursday as traders chose to lighten commitments in the safe haven commodity despite weak stock markets and a sluggish dollar.
Traders were presumably selling some positions in the commodity to raise funds for meeting margins requirements in the equities market, where stocks saw a slide today.
Traders may also have been reluctant to make significant moves in the bullion market ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls data due on Friday.
The dollar index, which rose to 93.07 in Asian trading, dropped below the 92.80 mark later on in the session and was last seen at 92.82, down marginally from the previous close.
Gold futures for December ended down $6.90 or about 0.4% at $1,937.80 an ounce, a one-week closing low.
Silver futures for December closed lower by $0.520 at $26.875 an ounce, while Copper futures for December settled at $2.9750 per pound, down $0.0455 from the previous close.
In economic news, data released by the Labor Department said initial jobless claims in the U.S. declined to 881,000, a decrease of 130,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 1.011 million. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 950,000 from the 1.006 million originally reported for the previous week.
Revised data released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed U.S. labor productivity soared 10.1% in the second quarter compared to the previously reported 7.3% spike. Economists had expected the jump in labor productivity to be upwardly revised to 7.5%.
A report from the Commerce Department said U.S. trade deficit widened by much more than expected in the month of July to $63.6 billion from $53.5 billion in June. Economists had expected the trade deficit to widen to $58.0 billion from the $50.7 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The value of imports surged up by 10.9% to $231.7 billion in July, while the value of exports jumped by 8.1% to $168.1 billion.
Meanwhile, a report from the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. service sector activity saw continued growth in the month of August. The ISM said its services PMI dipped to 56.9 in August from 58.1 in July, but a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 57.0.
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