Gold futures edged lower in New York on Friday, consolidating below the$ 950 mark after hitting a fresh record-high yesterday on increased inflation risks which boosted the precious metal's appeal as an inflation hedge.
Gold for April delivery dropped $1.40 to end at $947.80 an ounce on the Comex division on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Overall, the metal gained $41.70 this week from last Friday's close of $906.10.
On Thursday, gold surged to a record high of $958.40 an ounce, boosted by weakness in the dollar and by the metal's appeal as a hedge against inflation. The dollar weakness and recession fears have led investors to use the bullion as an alternative investment to the most common form of currency reserves and as a store of wealth during the ongoing economic turmoil.
The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.7 percent to 75.53.
With high oil prices creating inflationary pressures and the dollar likely to weaken further in the coming sessions, gold looks set to benefit from further investor inflows and should look to challenge $1,000 an ounce this quarter, said BullionDesk.com analyst James Moore.
April platinum soared to a new record high of $2,214.50 an ounce during intra-day trading, but then lost its gains. The platinum contract closed at $2,167.80 an ounce, down $20.40.
The precious metal posted a strong weekly gain of $104.10 from last Friday's closing level of $2,063.70.
Strong demand in Asia again this morning has propelled the metal through $2,200 an ounce, said Moore.
Ongoing supply disruptions in South Africa continue to limit platinum's downside risk, as traders view dips as buying opportunities, and with investors still increasing their holdings through the Exchange Traded Funds, the market deficit is expected to widen considerably from last years 265,000 ounces with the spot price potentially set to challenge $3,000 an ounce later in the year, noted Moore.