Gold prices drifted mildly lower in early U.S. trading on Thursday as traders sifted through a slew of economic data. With the drop, the metal erased its slight gains from yesterday.
June-dated gold futures moved to $878.20 per ounce, down $7.70 for the session.
The dollar was steady against other major currencies. The buck was little-changed amid choppy trading against the euro and moved higher against the yen. the dollar saw little movement versus the sterling for a fourth straight day, paring early losses after the the Bank of England decided to hold its interest rate at 0.5%.
On the economic front, the U.S. Labor Department announced initial jobless claims fell to 654,000 for the week ended April 4, compared to the previous week's revised level of 674,000. Analysts had expected the figure to come in at a level of 664,000.
Continuing claims rose by 95,000, bringing the total number to another record high of 5.84 million.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the trade gap came in at a deficit of $25.97 billion for February. This compared to a revised level of $36.2 billion in the previous month.
Economists had been looking for a deficit around $36 billion.
A separate Labor Department report showed that import prices rose 0.5 percent in March following a revised 0.1 percent decrease in February. The increase in import prices marks the first price growth in eight months.
At the same time, the Labor Department said that export prices fell 0.6 percent in March after edging down 0.3 percent in the previous month. With the decrease, export prices fell for the seventh time in the past eight months.
Gold for June delivery ended Wednesday at $885.90 an ounce, up $2.60 for the session. The metal gained for a second day after three straight sessions of declines.
After the floor trading on the Comex ended, traders looked for the release of the minutes of the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which said that committee members remain concerned about downside risks to an already weak outlook for economic activity.
The minutes showed that nearly all of the meeting participants felt that economic conditions had deteriorated relative to their expectations at the time of the January meeting.
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