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Bullion prices ended mixed at Comex on Thursday, 13 December 2018. Gold futures ended lower on Thursday, with overall strength in the dollar helping the metal build on its losses for the week. Silver registered marginal gains.

Gold for February delivery lost $2.60, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,247.40 an ounce, giving back nearly all of the $2.80 gain it saw a day earlier. Week to date, it has lost 0.4%. March silver settled at $14.855 an ounce, up just under half a cent for the session.

The U.S. dollar was up a bit Thursday as gold futures settled, with the ICE U.S. Dollar Index looking at a week-to-date rise of about 0.6%.

Reviewing Thursday's economic data, which included Export and Import Prices for November, weekly Initial and Continuing Claims, and the Treasury Budget for November, Import prices declined 1.6% in November after increasing 0.5% in October. Export prices declined 0.9% in November after increasing an upwardly revised 0.5% (from 0.4%) in October. Excluding fuel, import prices were down 0.3%. Excluding agricultural products, export prices were down 1.0%. The key takeaway from the report is that it stirred some thinking that inflation trends could be in a topping phase, which is constructive in terms of the market's belief that the Federal Reserve is apt to take a more conservative path with future rate hikes.

Initial jobless claims for the week ending December 8 dropped by 27,000 to 206,000. Continuing claims for the week ending December 1 increased by 25,000 to 1.661 million. The key takeaway from the report is that it helped quell for the time being burgeoning concerns about the rising trend in initial jobless claims.

The Treasury Budget for November showed a deficit of $204.9 billion versus a deficit of $138.5 billion for the same period a year ago. The Treasury Budget data is not seasonally adjusted, so the November deficit cannot be compared to the $100.9 billion deficit for October.The fiscal year-to-date deficit is $305.4 billion versus a deficit of $201.8 billion for the same period a year ago. The budget deficit over the last 12 months is $882.6 billion.

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