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Gold Remains Strong After Feb. U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Rise 3.1%

Kitco News

Editor's Note: Updating earlier story with more details from report.

(Kitco News) - Gold retained early-day gains after a government report Friday showing that February orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose by 3.1% to $247.7 billion, led by a sharp jump in orders for transportation equipment.

The rise in orders reversed a 3.5% decrease in January. Consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations called for durables to be up by around 1.7% to 1.8%.

As of 8:38 a.m. EDT, Comex April gold was trading up $18 for the day to $1,345.40 an ounce. One minute ahead of the report, the metal was at $1,346.90. Normally, stronger-than-forecast U.S. economic data might undercut gold. However, ahead of the durables report, the metal already was bid sharply higher on worries about a brewing trade war after news of U.S. actions by China and planned counter-measures by Chinese authorities.

Transportation equipment led the overall increase, rising 7.1%. Excluding transportation, February new orders increased 1.2%. Excluding defense, new orders rose by 2.5%.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, up nine of the last 10 months, increased 0.9% to $249.7 billion. This followed a 0.5% January increase.

The government’s durables report covers items with an expected life of at least three years, such as kitchen appliances, computers, furniture, autos and airplanes.

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