RTTNews - Gold finished lower again on Friday, following the lead of crude oil, and resumed its trend toward $900 an ounce. A weaker dollar diminished the precious metal's hedge appeal.

August gold fell to $912.50, down $3.70 for the session. Prices hit as low as $906.60 in early trading.

Gold fell about $18.50 an ounce for the week as the dollar generally drifted higher against its European rivals. The metal hit a multi-month low of $904.80 on Wednesday.

The dollar moved back above 1.400 against the euro and also saw mild strength against the British pound as lower global equities pushed traders toward the lower-risk currencies. Most of the time, gold moves opposite the dollar because of the precious metal's hedge appeal.

Crude oil surrendered another 52 cents to finish at $59.89 per barrel, its lowest close since May 18. Prices earlier hit as low as $58.72.

In economic news, a Labor Department report showed that import prices jumped 3.2 percent in June following a 1.4 percent increase in May. The increase was largely due to a 20.3 percent increase in the prices of petroleum imports, which rose 9.3 percent in the previous month.

A Commerce Department report showed that the trade deficit narrowed to $26.0 billion in May from a revised $28.8 billion in April. Economists had been expecting the deficit to widen to $30.0 billion from the $29.2 billion originally reported for the previous month.

A Reuters and the University of Michigan report showed that the preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for July came in at 64.6 compared the final reading of 70.8 for June. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to a reading of about 70.0.

Later, President Barack Obama said he feels it is premature to unwind economic stimulus plans as he spoke after a what was termed a very productive G8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy on Friday.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com