On Thursday, gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for February delivery, the most active contract, increased $22.50 to settle at $1,675 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March jumped 67 cents to close at $30.68.
Both precious metals climbed higher as China, the world’s second-largest gold consumer, reported positive economic data. The nation’s December exports increased 14.1 percent from a year earlier, easily beating estimates calling for a 5 percent gain. In comparison, November only logged a 2.9 percent gain.
As a result, China’s trade surplus increased to $31.6 billion, compared to $19.6 billion in November.
Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, told Bloomberg, “This improves the sequential momentum after weakness earlier in 2012.”
By the end of the day, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) increased 0.93 percent, while the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) gained 1.47 percent. Gold miners (NYSEARCA:GDX) such as Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) both jumped more than 2 percent. Meanwhile, First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) and Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) increased 1.20 percent and 3.71 percent, respectively.
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Disclosure: Long EXK, AG, HL, PHYS