Gold Prices Outlook
Gold prices to take their cues from US, China and India data next week.Reuters

Gold prices are expected to take their cues from a raft of US economic data all through next week.

The bullion will also take its cues from Chinese GDP data, due out on 15 March, and from demand statistics in India in the run up to a major gold-buying festival -- Akshaya Tritiya -- later this month.

Market players will be trying to gauge what the US reports mean for future US monetary policy. The US Federal Reserve's FOMC will meet at the end of the month.

Positive data, including retail sales, industrial production, inflation and housing numbers, could compel the Fed to raise interest rates earlier than September 2014.

Meanwhile, China's first-quarter economic growth rate is expected to hover at 6.9% to 7%, after 7.3% in the fourth-quarter of 2014.

Analysts' take

Sean Lusk, director of commercial hedging at Walsh Trading, told Kitco News: "We've got a ton of [economic] stuff out next week. The data will be the focus."

Bart Melek, director of commodity strategy at TD Securities, told Kitco: "Based on what we've heard from the Federal Reserve, any action [by policy-makers] will be driven by data and inflationary expectations.

"Stronger data implies a Federal Reserve that is more likely to tighten, and weaker data a lesser likelihood....We expect the data to be a little weak. That means gold would look better from these levels."

Lusk added: "Bad news is good for gold and vice-versa. At that the end of the day, it will be what the Fed says."

Jim Comiskey, senior account executive with Archer Financial Services, said the market will be paying attention to comments from a number of Fed speakers next week.

Comiskey added: "It's awful hard to throw a dart as to how gold will trade next week.

"The market is going to continue to fixate on whether the Fed is going to raise rates in June, or aren't they? They know they're data dependent, and the market does as well."

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst with Price Futures Group, said: "It might be bullish for gold if [Chinese growth data] comes out a little bit weaker than anticipated There is the growing possibility that China is going to have to continue to aggressively stimulate its economy."

Gold slips

US gold for delivery in June finished 0.9% higher at $1,204.60 an ounce on 10 April.

But prices were down 0.3% for the week as a whole.

Spot gold traded 1.15% higher to $1,208 an ounce.

Indian imports

India's gold imports more than doubled to 125 tonnes in March, from 60 tonnes in the same period a year ago, three Indian TV channels reported on 10 April.

Gold imports by the world's leading consumer surged in March ahead of Akshaya Tritiya, when gold-buying turns auspicious, and because of the ongoing wedding season when demand for jewellery typically spikes, Rahul Gupta, director, PP Jewellers told Reuters.

India's gold imports in the fiscal year ended 31 March hovered at 900 tonnes, up 36% from a year ago, the TV reports showed.