(Kitco News) -Comex gold futures prices are lower and trading near a two-month low Thursday morning, amid more technical selling pressure and on some commodity-market-bearish economic data coming out of China. The commodity sector, in general, is seeing price pressure Thursday morning. February Comex gold last traded down $12.30 at $1,357.90 an ounce. Spot gold last traded down $11.90 at $1,359.00.

Traders this week had been highly anticipating fresh economic growth data from China, due out Thursday. It was reported overnight that China's gross domestic product was up 9.8% in the fourth quarter, on a year-on-year basis. That was slightly higher than analysts had expected and has heightened speculation China's monetary authorities will move to tighten monetary policy to reduce consumption. That's commodity-market-bearish and most commodity markets, including the precious metals, are under selling pressure Thursday morning.

The U.S. dollar index is trading weaker Thursday morning and has this week hit a fresh two-month low. At present, gold traders are ignoring the weaker greenback's potential to support the yellow metal. The dollar index bears have gained fresh downside near-term technical momentum recently. Still, if the U.S. dollar index continues on a downward path in the near term, look for gold prices to gain buying support from such.

Most gold traders are now pondering at what point gold will come a bargain-hunting buying opportunity. In recent months, significant price dips in gold have seen bargain hunters step in, and then be rewarded by strong price rebounds. It always takes nerve for an investor or trader to step in and buy a dip in prices. However, recent price history shows that those buyers on the dip have been correct in their notions. Importantly, veteran market watchers know that the longer-term price trend in gold remains solidly up, and that every bull market always has its downside "corrections" that cause even the most ardent bulls to squirm just a bit.

U.S. economic data due for release Thursday includes the weekly jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed business survey, leading economic indicator index, existing home sales and the weekly DOE energy stocks report.

The London A.M. gold fixing was $1,364.50 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,372.00.

Technically, the gold market bulls are fading again, on a near-term basis, and need to show fresh power soon. Prices are in a three-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. A bearish head-and-shoulders top reversal pattern has also formed on the daily bar chart for February Comex gold. However, no serious near-term chart damage has yet occurred in the gold market. Again, gold market bulls still have the strong overall longer-term technical advantage, as evidenced by a 10-year-old uptrend in place on the longer-term charts.

Gold bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at this week's high of $1,378.90. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at the January low of $1,352.70. First resistance is seen at $1,365.00 and then at Thursday's high of $1,370.90. Support is seen at the January low of $1,352.70 and then at $1,350.00.

March silver futures last traded down 55.1 cents at $28.245 an ounce Thursday morning. Silver prices are also in a three-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. No serious near-term chart damage has occurred in silver recently, but bulls need to show fresh power soon. Silver bulls do still have the overall longer-term technical advantage. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at this week's low of $28.05. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at $30.00 an ounce. First resistance is seen at $28.50 and then at Thursday's high of $28.78. Next support is seen at $28.05 and then at $27.75.

By Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News; jwyckoff@kitco.com

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