Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose on Thursday as traders digested the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, released after the market's close on Wednesday.
The most active gold contract for June delivery rose 13.7 U.S. dollars, or 1.12 percent, to settle at 1,237.50 dollars per ounce.
Gold settled higher Thursday after the US Federal Reserve released the minutes from their latest March FOMC meeting.
The minutes indicated that the Fed would continue to be cautious with the timing of an interest rate hike: signaling that an April rate hike would be highly unlikely.
According to the CMEGroup's Fedwatch tool, the current implied probability of a hike is at 3 percent at the April 2016 meeting, and 14 percent at the June 2016 meeting, both lower than one day before.
Analysts believed the goal of the Fed is to soak up some of the banks' 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars of excess reserves as the U.S. economy begins to recover. Banks become more willing to take risks in a bullish economy, and as a result could potentially release some of their excessive reserves, flooding the economy with cash, causing inflation.
The release of these minutes put pressure on U.S. equities, which in turn gave support to gold. The FTSE 100 Index, the British benchmark stock market gauge, and other major European stocks also fell Wednesday.
Analysts noted that when equities post losses, the precious metal usually goes up, as investors are looking for a safe haven, while the opposite is true when U.S. equities post gains.
On the economic front, in the week ending April 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims decreased 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level to a slightly lower-than-expected 267,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
Silver for May delivery rose 10.40 cents, or 0.69 percent, to close at 15.158 dollars per ounce. Platinum for July delivery added 10.00 dollars, or 1.06 percent, to close at 954.70 dollars per ounce.