On Friday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, decreased $4.40 to settle at $1,666.90 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March edged 4 cents higher to close at $31.44.
Both precious metals finished the week slightly lower, as the Commerce Department said the U.S. trade deficit decreased to $38.5 billion in December, compared to $48.61 billion in the prior month. It was the smallest trade deficit in almost three years.
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The deficit was aided by crude oil imports reaching their lowest level since 1997, and exports, along with gold, climbing higher. Reuters reports, “U.S. exports increased $8.6 billion in December, boosted by sales of industrial supplies, including a $1.2 billion rise of non-monetary gold.”
By the end of the day, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) finished 0.17 percent in the red, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) edged 0.10 percent lower. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) both closed mostly flat. However, silver names such as First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) increased 0.91 percent and 0.43 percent, respectively.
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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS