Bullion prices ended mixed on Friday, 22 March 2019 at Comex. Gold settled higher on Friday, amid haven buying, overcoming strength in the U.S. dollar as investors reacted to fresh global growth fears and a recessionary alarm bell sounding in the bond market.
Gold for April delivery on Comex rose $5, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,312.30 an ounce. It scored a weekly gain of 0.7%, which marked its third weekly rise in a row. May silver lost 3 cents, or 0.2%, at $15.407 an ounce, but settled up 0.5% for the week.
The economic data Friday came after the Federal Reserve earlier this week signaled that most policy makers expect to deliver no rate increases in 2019 versus a previous indication of two hikes. The central bank also downgraded its growth forecast as it pledged to remain patient, following through on a January pivot that saw it abruptly put its policy of gradual monetary policy tightening on pause.
Among economic data expected for the day, global-growth concerns were brought to the fore after a round of March purchasing-managers-index readings pointed to a further slowdown in activity across the eurozone. Those fears were compounded when data showed growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed to a 21-month low in March, according to the flash reading of IHS Markit's purchasing manager's index. The manufacturing index fell to 52.5 from 53 in February and below the 53.5 expected. Also, the Commerce Dept said that the U.S. wholesale inventories also rose 1.2% in January after a revised estimate of a 1.1% increase in December.
Separately, as per the the National Association of Realtors, existing-home sales hit an 11-month high in February. New homes were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.51 million, an 11.8% increase over the previous month.