Gold Prices Slipped As Dollar Firms Slightly

Gold prices slipped in range-bound trading on Friday as the dollar firmed slightly, with investors mostly brushing off a potential broadening of conflict in the Middle East. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $ 1,319.61 per ounce, after rising to the highest since end-April at $ 1,322.76 in the previous session. The metal was, however, still on track to register a first weekly rise in four. U.S. gold futures for June delivery were nearly 0.2 percent lower at $ 1,320.20 per ounce.

Gold is traditionally seen as a safe place to park assets in times of uncertainty or conflic. Meanwhile, the dollar index on Friday edged slightly higher, but still held below a 4-1/2-month high hit on Wednesday, with tepid U.S. inflation data for April prompting traders to pare bets of faster rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Fed funds futures, however, rose on Thursday, indicating some traders continued to expect the U.S. central bank to raise key interest rates at its next policy meeting in June. A stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies, while higher U.S. rates tend to boost the greenback.

Irelands manufacturing output declined for the second straight month in March, the Central Statistics Office reported Friday. Manufacturing output slid 7.3 percent on a monthly basis in March, smaller than the 9.9 percent decrease in February.

On a yearly basis, manufacturing output declined at a faster pace of 9.9 percent after easing 0.2 percent a month ago. At the same time, turnover decreased 9.1 percent on month and declined 6.6 percent year-on-year in March. In the first quarter, manufacturing output plunged 7.8 percent and turnover fell 3.4 percent.