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Gold Prices Flat in Skittish Trade on Brexit Deal, Weak Data

Gold prices were volatile but largely unchanged from Wednesday's levels on Thursday, as early weakness on signs of a Brexit deal gave way to fresh buying as signs of resistance from U.K. lawmakers emerged.

Haven appetite was also supported by a barrage of weak U.S. economic data that gave fresh ammunition to those calling for further interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve when its policy-making committee meets in just under two weeks’ time.

Industrial production in the U.S. fell 0.4% in September, after an upwardly-revised gain of 0.8% in August, adding to evidence of an ongoing slowdown across the country. Earlier, the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index fell to its lowest in five months, while data from the housing market also disappointed, as housing starts slowed more than expected, while initial jobless claims again edged higher.

Fed officials John Williams and Michelle Bowman are both due to speak later, as is Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who has already signaled his openness to another cut.

There was more bearish news from abroad too, as the German government cut its growth estimate for next year to 1.0% from 1.5% previously. For now, German government officials are sticking to their line that the economy doesn’t need a major stimulus package.

By 10:20 AM ET (1420 GMT), gold futures for delivery on the Comex exchange were effectively unchanged at $1,493.90, while spot gold was flat at $1,490.73.

Silver futures were up 0.6% at $17.54 an ounce while platinum futures were up less than 0.1% at $891.10.

The Brexit deal announced earlier promised to remove the risk of a chaotic and economically devastating rupture at the end of the month, a risk that has propped up haven demand for most of this year.

“We do not see much risk of a Hard Brexit at the end of the month,” said Kallum Pickering, a senior economist with Berenberg Bank in London, after the announcement. “Instead, we would expect the U.K. and EU to agree on an extension, during which the U.K. would an election and/or a second EU referendum.”

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