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.
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