Gold / Silver / Copper futures

Gold ended higher in an abbreviated trading session Thursday, as weakness in the U.S. dollar supported prices before the Christmas break. Invest binary options with Dollar weakness usually benefits gold, as it boosts the metal’s appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Global financial markets closed early on Thursday, Christmas Eve, and remained shut for Christmas Day on Friday.

Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on $7.60, or 0.71%, to close the week at $1,075.90 a troy ounce. For the week, prices of the precious metal rose $10.90, or 1.03%, just the second weekly gain over the past ten weeks.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, settled at 98.02 by close of trade, down 0.72% for the week.

The index fell to a more than one-week low of 97.94 earlier Thursday, as investors booked profits on their bullish dollar bets following the Federal Reserve’s widely-anticipated interest rate hike last week.

With the first U.S. rate hike since 2006 out of the way, the focus is now on the pace of future rate increases. The Fed, from its forecasts, is anticipating four rate hikes next year. However, the Fed funds futures currently suggests there will be just two rate increases, one in June and one in December.

Mixed U.S. economic reports released throughout the week failed to offer clues as to how fast the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates next year and ExpertOption broker overview video.

Data on Tuesday showed that the U.S. economy grew 2.0% in the third quarter, downwardly revised from a preliminary estimate of 2.1%, but above expectations for 1.9%.

That was followed by data on Wednesday showing orders for U.S. core capital goods, a key barometer of private-sector business investment, declined 0.4% last month, while shipments of core capital goods, a category used to calculate quarterly economic growth, slumped 0.5%.

However, separate reports revealed that initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week, personal spending rose for the eighth straight month in November, while consumer sentiment improved to a five-month high in December.

Gold is on track to post an annual decline of approximately 9% in 2015, the third yearly loss in a row, as speculation over the timing of a Fed rate hike dominated market sentiment for most of the year.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery added 9.2 cents, or 0.64%, on Thursday to settle at $14.37 a troy ounce. Silver prices sank to $13.62 on December 14, a level not seen since August 2009.

On the week, silver futures rose 26.9 cents, or 2.01%. Silver is on track to post an annual decline of nearly 6% this year.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for March delivery dipped 0.3 cents, or 0.16%, on Thursday to settle the week at $2.121 a pound, as traders booked profits on recent price gains amid thin Christmas Eve trading.

Copper rallied to a four-week peak of $2.144 on December 21 amid indications Chinese producers will scale back production of the red metal to combat falling prices.

For the week, Comex copper prices inched up 0.9 cents, or 0.38%. The red metal is on track to post an annual decline of 27% in 2015 as fears of a China-led global economic slowdown spooked traders and rattled sentiment.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.

Heading into the final week of the year, trading volumes are expected to remain light as many traders already closed books due to the holiday period, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing volatility.

The U.S. is to release key reports on consumer confidence, pending home sales and jobless claims, as market players look for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future path of U.S. rate hikes.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, December 28

Markets in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Canada will remain closed in observance of Boxing Day.

Tuesday, December 29

The U.S. is to release a report on consumer confidence as well as data on the trade balance.

Wednesday, December 30

The U.S. is to publish private sector data on pending home sales as well as the weekly government report on crude oil inventories.

Thursday, December 31

Markets in Japan and Germany will remain closed for New Year’s Eve.

The U.S. is to produce weekly data on initial jobless claims as well as a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region.

Friday, January 1

China is to publish government data on manufacturing activity for December.

Meanwhile, markets in China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Switzerland, the U.K., Canada and the U.S. will remain closed for the New Year’s holiday.

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