CHICAGO, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose sharply Thursday on a weaker U.S. dollar and falling stock markets worldwide.
The most active gold contract for June delivery rose 24.4 dollars, or 1.78 percent, to settle at 1,391.8 dollars per ounce.
Dollar dropped sharply against Japanese yen Thursday, and traded at 101.78 yen per dollar. The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell to 83.708 Thursday from 84.251 Wednesday, supportive of gold.
Slumping stock markets worldwide lent an additional support. China's manufacturing industry unexpectedly contracted, triggering sharp losses across Asian stock markets, with the U.S. stock market following suit. The Nikkei Stock Average in Japan dropped 7. 3 percent Thursday, the worst one-day loss since March 2011.
Nevertheless, gold prices encountered some resistance in its way of growth Thursday as the U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the U.S. dropped by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 in the weed ended May 18; and the U.S. Commerce Department said that new home sales in April reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454, 000, up 2.3 percent from an upwardly revised level of 444,000 in March.
Many market analysts don't think a lasting recovery of gold prices is likely unless current big outflows from gold funds ease.
Silver for July delivery gained 3.6 cents, or 0.16 percent, to close at 22.508 dollars per ounce. Platinum for July delivery lost 12 dollars, or 0.82 percent, to close at 1,457.2 dollars per ounce.