Gold prices increased on Friday en route to its second quarterly growth as dollar eased on tepid U.S. economic data, while palladium snapped three straight sessions of sharp losses, ending the quarter on a positive note.
Spot gold was up 0.20 percent at $1,292.67 per ounce as of 3:00 p.m. EST. Prices struggled to break past resistance around $1,300 per ounce, a level it had fallen through on Thursday, with momentum capped by rising global equities.
U.S. gold futures settled 0.2 percent higher at $1,298.50 per ounce.
“The dollar is pulling back a little bit,” said Josh Graves, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago. “Personal spending has declined, so investors are looking to place money in more safe-haven assets, like gold.”
U.S. consumer spending rebounded less than expected in January and incomes rose modestly in February, adding to concerns that slowing global growth was affecting the world’s largest economy as well.
The dollar edged lower against a basket of other currencies after the U.S. data, but pared losses as sterling fell after British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was again voted down in parliament.
Also propping up bullion were cautious signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.
Gold, however, was still bound for a second consecutive monthly drop, losing about 1.4 percent – its biggest decline since August – weighed down by the dollar’s recent strength.
The yellow metal had declined about 1.5 percent on Thursday.
Palladium gained 2.0 percent on Friday to $1,375.00 per ounce, having slid over 12 percent in the week amid worries that industrial demand for the precious metal would be hurt by a weakening economy.
“It’s just some buyers coming in and thinking that these prices are of fair value and this is the opportunity to come into the market,” said Philip Newman, a director at Metals Focus.
The metal, used to make catalytic converters for vehicle exhaust systems, had soared since last year on a sustained deficit. The run stalled this week, with the metal sliding the most since January 2017 on Thursday.
Palladium ended the first quarter up more than 9 percent.
“I don’t think the correction in palladium is done yet. Once we had the first $100 down day, that was the first red flag. You saw more investors unwind their long positions and take whatever profits they can,” said RJO’s Graves.
Among other metals, platinum rose 1.36 percent to $848.35 per ounce, extending weekly gains. Silver was up 0.7 percent at $15.11.