Updated from 11:25 a.m. ET with settlement prices.
Gold for June delivery at the COMEX division of the CME jumped $14.90 to $1,423.70 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,433.60 and as low as $1,411.50 an ounce, while the spot price was adding $17.60, according to Kitco's gold index.
"If we see signs of a weaker economy it tends to be positive for gold, because it changes expectations for monetary policy," said Jeffrey Nichols, senior economic adviser at Rosland Capital. "So today's durable goods orders being a big disappointment has some... thinking that the [Federal Reserve] isn't going to tighten sooner."The Census Bureau reported Wednesday that durable-goods orders dropped 5.7% in March after they had risen 4.3% the prior month. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting orders to decline 2.8%. Last month's Fed policy-making meeting revealed a growing number of members were considering scaling back the central bank's current monetary stimulus programs, but a weak March jobs report, softer housing data and vacillating manufacturing indicators likely have forced central bankers to reconsider their hope to curb quantitative easing. "Durable goods is a volatile report," Robert Brusca, chief economist of Fact & Opinion Economics, wrote in a note. "However, over three months only 14% of the durable goods sectors representing 27% of sales show shipments that are accelerating." Silver for May delivery rose 2 cents to $22.83 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was dipping 0.08% to $82.95. Silver prices suffered in 2012 from a setback in global economic growth as industrial demand softened, according to the Silver Institute's 2013 world silver survey that came out Wednesday. The survey found that silver's industrial fabrication dropped to 465.9 million ounces from 487.8 million ounces in 2011, and that overall silver fabrication demand dropped to 846.8 million ounces in 2012 from 907.1 million ounces a year earlier. While silver has seen about a 13% drop since April 12, when gold started its two-session collapse, some believe silver could be poised for a recovery in the second half of this year.
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