CHICAGO, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX Division of the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped for the fourth session in a row on Thursday, settling above 1,800 dollar per ounce, as a series of disappointing macroeconomic data painted an uglier picture of the U.S. economy, putting more weight on the double-dip recession camp.
The most active gold contract for Dec. delivery rallied 28.2 dollars, or 1.6 percent, to 1,822 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. and European equity markets swoon again on Thursday, after more signs of economic weakness triggered a global sell-off in stocks.
U.S. Labor Department announced on Thursday that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week jumped above the 400,000 level, adding to worries about the health of the economy.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's business outlook survey dropped to negative 30.7 in Aug. from 3.2 in July -- the lowest reading since March 2009.
And Morgan Stanley warned the global economy was "dangerously close to a recession" and revised their 2011 global growth forecast down to 3.9 percent from 4.2 percent and 2012 forecast to 3.8 percent from 4.5 percent.
A trader mentioned that the crash in equity market prompted more investors run to the safe-haven of gold and the greenback. The gold price also touched a fresh intraday high of 1,829.7 dollars per ounce; the precious metal has gained 12 percent so far this month.
Besides, the strong demand for the physical gold also added upward pressure on its price. The World Gold Council announced on Thursday that despite gold's record prices, demand in the second quarter was strong, with buyers in India and China accounting for 52 percent of total bar and coin investment and 55 percent of jewelry demand.
Silver for Sept. delivery jumped 33.7 cents, or 0.8 percent, to 40.688 dollars per ounce. Platinum for Oct. delivery rose 6.9 dollars, or 0.4 percent, to 1,847.7 dollars per ounce.