RTTNews - The price of gold climbed higher on Thursday as encouraging economic data raise the prospects of inflation. Higher oil prices and the dollar's decline against the euro also boosted the precious metal's hedge value.

June-stamped climbed to $961.50 per ounce, up $8.20 on the session. Prices reached as high as $964.90 earlier in the day.

The dollar dropped off of a weekly high against the euro and crept toward a multi-month low. The buck gained on the yen and was stable against the sterling, limiting the hedge appeal for gold, which usually moves opposite the greenback.

A Commerce Department report showed that durable goods orders jumped 1.9 percent in April following a downwardly revised 2.1 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected orders to edge up 0.5 percent compared to the 0.8 percent drop that had been reported for the previous month.

Also, the Department of Labor revealed that initial jobless claims came in at 623,000 for the week ended May 23. This was down 13,000 from a revised mark of 636,000 in the previous week.

Later, a separate Commerce Department report showed that new homes sales edged up 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 352,000 in April from a revised 351,000 in March. Economists had expected sales to rise to 360,000 from the 356,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The metal is up $2.60 this week after rising more than $25 last week.

Crude oil prices closed above $65 per barrel for the first time in nearly seven months on Thursday after a Energy Information report showed a sharp drop in weekly inventories. Light sweet crude finished at $65.08 per barrel, up $1.63 on the day.

Crude oil stockpiles decreased by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended May 22. This was much larger than the predicted drop of about 1.8 million barrels.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com