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Gold price holding near six-week highs, but largely ignores disappointing Philly Fed Survey of -23.2

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(Kitco News) - The gold market is struggling to hold in positive territory, finding little bullish momentum as disappointing manufacturing data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve could further elevate recession fears.

Thursday, the regional central bank said its manufacturing business outlook rose less than expected to -23.2 in March, up from February's reading of -24.3. The data significantly missed expectations as economists looked for some improvement to -14.7.

"Responses to the March Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest continued declines for the region's manufacturing sector. The survey's indicators for general activity, new orders, and shipments were all negative, and the firms reported a decline in employment, on balance," the report said.

The data shows that activity in the Philadelphia region remains at its lowest level since early 2020, when the global economy ground to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disappointing manufacturing data is having little impact on gold as prices near their highest level in six weeks. April gold futures last traded at $1,931.60 an ounce, roughly unchanged on the day.

The components of the report showed broad-based weakness within the mid-Atlantic's manufacturing sector. The report said that the New Orders Index dropped to -28.2, down from February's reading of -13.6; at the same time, the Shipments Index dropped to -25.4, down sharply from 8.7 last month.

The labor market also saw significant weakness, with the Number of Employees Index falling to -10.3, down from February's reading of 5.1.

The report did note that the weak activity is helping to cool down inflation; however, the pace of the decline is relatively muted. The report said the Prices Paid Index fell to 23.5, down from February's reading of 26.5.

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