MANILA: Gold steadied on Friday after recent gains that lifted the metal to its highest since November, keeping it on track to end January with its strongest monthly climb in a year.
The metal got a strong boost this week after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it was closely watching the global economy and financial markets, supporting expectations that policymakers may not be able to raise interest rates again as soon as March.
Underpinning that belief, data on Thursday showed new orders for U.S. durable goods posted their biggest drop in 16 months in December, suggesting that growth in the world´s top economy braked sharply at the end of 2015.
A March rate hike is looking "extremely unlikely," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"Now that the Fed has said that they are looking at international conditions and their impact on the U.S. economy it´s quite clear they´d be waiting...and there are not just enough macro data between now and the March meeting for them to shift from their current position," said McCarthy.