Prices for gold near flat in Asia

On Friday gold prices in Asia traded near flat but drifted away from the key $1,300 level it hit earlier this week. Gold futures for June delivery, traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, were at $1,286.95 by 1:37 AM ET (05:37 GMT), up 0.06%.

The safe-haven metal rose above the $1,300 level earlier on week amid the intensifying trade dispute between China and the U.S. but began to decline as a strong rebound in the U.S. stock market this week boosted investors’ risk appetite.

Stronger U.S. economic data, released overnight, was cited as a catalyst for the selling in the precious metal today. Data also showed the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell to 212,000 from the week before.

Homebuilding in the U.S. increased more than expected in April - housing starts rose 5.7% to 1.235 million units last month.

The U.S. dollar also rose and hit a two-week high overnight the release of the data, putting more pressure on the safe-haven gold.

Capital Economics analyst Ross Strachan said: «There was a couple of attempts in the last few days to rise above $1 300 and gold appears to be facing some kind of barrier».

Reports of U.S. sanctions on Chinese telecoms company Huawei limited bullion’s losses as traders await further news on the China-U.S. trade dispute. The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Wednesday, it had put Huawei and 70 affiliates to its «Entity List», a blacklist that could forbid it from doing business with American companies.