CHICAGO, July 18 -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose slightly Thursday as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in his testimony to the Congress that it was too early to make judgment on whether the Fed will slow down asset purchases at its September meeting.
The most active gold contract for August delivery rose 6.7 dollars, or 0.52 percent, to settle at 1,284.2 dollars per ounce.
Bernanke also said Thursday in his final-day testimony to the Congress that a decision to scale back assets purchases will hinge in part on whether the central bank sees a pickup in the labor market and a sense that the improvement is going to last. Many investors viewed Bernanke as being reluctant to withdraw stimulus measures soon.
Nevertheless, economic data released Thursday were negative for gold, curbing its growth somehow. U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that the initial jobless claims fell 24,000 to 334,000 in the week ending July 13, the lowest level since early May; the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing survey in July surged to 19.8 from 12.5 in June, marking the highest level since March 2011.
Gold price has lost around 24 percent this year to date. It has reported annual gains in the past 12 years.
Silver for September delivery dropped 3.1 cents, or 0.16 percent, to close at 19.389 dollars per ounce. Platinum for October delivery gained 3.8 dollars, or 0.27 percent, to close at 1,414.8 dollars per ounce.