CHICAGO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Friday as investors squared positions before the weekend after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 3.1 U.S. dollars, or 0.25 percent, to settle at 1,230.20 dollars per ounce.
Investors are in the process of continuing a reaction to the U.S. Federal Reserve's signal that it could have a slower pace of interest rate hikes. Investors believe the Fed may raise rates from 1.00 to 1.25 during the June FOMC meeting.
According to the CME Group's Fedwatch tool, the current implied probability of a hike from 1.00 to 1.25 is at 4 percent at the May meeting and 51 percent for the June meeting, along with a 2 percent chance of an increase to a 1.5 rate.
The industrial production report released on Friday by the U.S. Federal Reserve showed production unchanged during the month of February, but manufacturing increase by 0.5 percent, which analysts note was on the high end of expectations. Analysts further believe that this is the largest increase in volume since 0.5 percent, and likely put pressure on the precious metal.
Gold was prevented from rising further as the U.S. Dollar Index rose by 0.08 percent to 100.31 as of 1855 GMT. The index is a measure of the dollar against a basket of major currencies.
Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions, which means if the dollar goes up, gold futures will fall as gold, measured by the dollar, becomes more expensive for investors.
The U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 20.23 points, or 0.1 percent as of 1855 GMT. Analysts note that when equities post losses, the precious metal usually goes up, as investors are looking for a safe haven, while the opposite is true when U.S. equities post gains.
Traders are waiting for the release of several economic reports. Next week will see no major economic data on Monday and Tuesday, the existing home sales report on Wednesday, weekly jobless claims and new home sales on Thursday, durable goods orders and PMI composite flash on Friday.
Silver for May delivery rose 8.3 cents, or 0.48 percent, to close at 17.413 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery added 4.6 dollars, or 0.48 percent, to close at 963.00 dollars per ounce.