CHICAGO, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained sharply on short covering Monday, after closing the second quarter with a 23 percent loss, the worst quarterly loss on record.
The most active gold contract for August delivery rose 32 dollars, or 2.62 percent, to settle at 1,255.7 dollars per ounce.
Upbeat U.S. economic data released Monday also propped up gold. The Institute for Supply Management's factory index rose to 50.9 percent in June from 49.0 percent in May, exceeding market expectations.
But from long-term point of view, market analysts are not optimistic about gold market. Yields on the U.S. government bonds have kept rising recently, pushing up dollar and tarnishing the investment appeal of gold. Meanwhile, China, a major gold consumer, seemed to slow the pace in its economy. Chinese government on Monday reported that its manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 50.1 in June from 50.8 in May. While a separate survey from HSBC showed the PMI of China's manufacturing industry declining to 48.2 in June from 49.2 in May. A reading below 50 indicates a deterioration in activity.
Besides the 23-percent loss in the second quarter, gold prices also suffered a 4.8-percent loss in the first quarter of 2013. In view of current situation, Barrick Gold Corp., the world's largest gold miner, has decided to postpone the launch of its Pascua-Lama gold mine in Chile and Argentina by two years to mid-2016.
Silver for September delivery gained 10.8 cents, or 0.55 percent, to close at 19.578 dollars per ounce. Platinum for October delivery soared 42.6 dollars, or 3.18 percent, to close at 1,382.5 dollars per ounce.