Gold Prices Little Changed as U.S. Dollar Weakens (Update 1)

Updated from 11:13 a.m. ET with settlement prices and gold and silver interviews

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices were little changed on Thursday as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi reaffirmed the bank's commitment to accommodative monetary policy.

Draghi, speaking to the press, also said price development in the eurozone would remain steady with price stability over the medium term. The comment spurred a small euro rally against the U.S. dollar, which boosted the yellow metal in the morning.

By its settlement at 1:30 p.m. ET, the yellow metal had given back most of its gains.

Gold for April delivery added 20 cents to $1,575.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,584.90 and as low as $1,574 an ounce, while the spot price shed $5.90, according to Kitco's gold index.

"Gold buying mainly re-balancing quarterly and index rolls allocations helped by Draghi comments of a better euro outlook which weaken the dollar," George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Wealth Management, wrote in a note on Thursday morning.

Silver prices for May delivery climbed incrementally at $28.81 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was slumping 0.56% to $82.10.

Randy Smallwood, chief executive of Silver Wheaton ( SLW), said in an interview the upside for silver prices would be weakness in the U.S. dollar and increased demand on the industrial trade of the metal.

"Eventually printing all those dollars, continued challenges on that side monetary policy , that's usually what drives it," said Smallwood. "There are increases in demand on the industrial side; we do see silver is one of the best metals out there in terms of efficiency of transmitting energy."

The euro was charging higher against the dollar to $1.3106, up from the prior day's close at $1.2966.

The Bank of Japan made no changes to its monetary stance and reiterated its commitment to purchasing 101 trillion yen in asset purchases.

The meeting marked the last for BOJ Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to replace the central banker with Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda.

Abe has suggested the need for a more highly accommodative monetary policy, and economists see Kuroda as a possible governor to carry out the plan without much disagreement.

"I think the early indications are that they want to be even more aggressive on their monetary easing," Jim Wyckoff, senior metals analyst at Kitco.com, said in an interview.

Gold traders were awaiting Friday's nonfarm payrolls from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a huge miss could lift gold prices, which have been in a six-week slide. Much-better-than-expected results from the jobs report could sink the yellow metal further.

Gold mining stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday. Shares of Randgold Resources ( GOLD) slumped 2.5%, while shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM) lost 2.2%.

Among volume leaders, Kinross Gold ( KGC) slid 0.76%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD) was off 0.35%, while iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) was down 0.39% on Thursday.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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