Gold falls as U.S. dollar strengthens

By Xu JingUnreguser

CHICAGO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell on Friday as the U.S. dollar strengthened.

The most active gold contract for April delivery fell 12.10 U.S. dollars, or 0.61 percent, to close at 1,983.80 dollars per ounce.

Gold gained 0.5 percent for the week.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told reporters Friday that the Federal Reserve will likely need to raise interest rates higher than expected as U.S. regulators' swift response eases stress in the banking sector while the economy and inflation remain stronger than expected.

Economic data released on Friday are mixed. The S&P Global Flash U.S. Services Business Activity Index posted 53.8 in March, up from 50.6 in February to signal a solid expansion in service sector business activity. The S&P Global Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index was at 49.3 in March, up from 47.3 in February, and signaling a slight deterioration in operating conditions across the manufacturing sector during March.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that U.S. new orders for durable goods decreased one percent in February to a seasonally adjusted 268.4 billion dollars.

Silver for May delivery rose 8.30 cents, or 0.36 percent, to close at 23.339 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery fell 9 dollars, or 0.91 percent, to close at 983.90 dollars per ounce.

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