Gold dips on U.S. data, talk of waning physical demand

Gold prices fell on Thursday after weekly U.S. jobless claims numbers and a regional factory report beat expectations, while talk of waning physical demand in Asia softened the precious metal as well.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery traded at $1,293.90 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, down 0.74%, up from a session low of $1,293.20 and off a high of $1,304.30.

The June contract settled up 0.25% at $1,303.50 on Wednesday.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,289.60 a troy ounce, Tuesday's low , and resistance at $1,331.30, Monday's high.

Solid U.S. economic indicators released earlier bolstered the dollar and marred gold's historical appeal as a hedge to a weaker greenback.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that its manufacturing index rose to 16.6 in April, the highest level since September, from 9.0 in March. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 10.

Separately, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 12 rose by 2,000 to 304,000, better than analysts' forecasts for a rise to 315,000.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that monetary policy will need to remain accommodative for some time, citing slackness in the labor market and low inflation, which weakened the dollar, though Thursday's data gave the greenback some support and chipped away at gold's gains.

Elsewhere, talk of soft physical demand in China coupled with reports of funds selling gold positions softened prices as well.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery was down 0.21% at US$19.593 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery were up 0.85% at US$3.051 a pound.