Gold prices drifted lower on Thursday, falling after two successive days of gains and pushing the most active gold futures contract to a weak close.

Data showing a bigger than expected drop in U.S. jobless claims in the week ended April 17, and the dollar’s rebound weighed on gold prices.

The dollar index, which dropped to 91.00 in the Asian session, rallied to 91.40 in late morning trades, gaining more than 0.25%.

Gold futures for June ended down $11.10 or about 0.6% at $1,782.00 an ounce.

Silver futures for May ended lower by $0.390 at $26.180 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $4.2730 per pound, down $0.0060 from previous close.

Data from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell to 547,000 last week, a decrease of 39,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 586,000.

The continued drop came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to rebound to 617,000 from the 576,000 originally reported for the previous month.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims slid to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

The European Central Bank today left interest rates unchanged and made no changes to its bond-buying efforts. The central bank said the Governing Council decided to “reconfirm its very accommodative monetary policy stance.”

The central bank said it would continue to buy bonds under its 1.85 trillion euro pandemic emergency purchase program until at least the end of March 2022, while net purchases under its asset purchase program would continue at a monthly pace of 20 billion euros. The bank added that PEPP purchases, as decided at the ECB’s previous meeting, will continue at a significantly faster pace over the current quarter.

Traders were closely tracking the updates on coronavirus infections across the world. India and Japan have been seeing spikes in new cases with the former reporting nearly 3,15,000 infections in a single day on Wednesday.


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