Chicago– Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell slightly on Thursday as better-than-expected US economic data put pressure on the precious metal.

The most active gold contract for April delivery fell $2.4, or 0.20 percent, to settle at $1,221.60 per ounce.

Analysts say that comments this week from Fed officials hinting at an interest-rate increase as early as April would continue to support the dollar Friday and extend pressure on dollar-priced gold.

Gold was also put under pressure as a report released by the US Department of Labor showed jobless claims coming in 6,000 higher at the 265,000 level during the week of March 19. Analysts noted that this is the 55th report in a row under the 300,000 level, which is the longest streak since 1973. This data is also slightly lower than Bloomberg’s consensus of 268,000.

However, the precious metal was prevented from falling further as a report from the US Department of Commerce showed durable goods orders falling by a worse-than-expected 2.8 percent in February, and the ex-transportation reading falling by 1.0 percent. Analysts believe this will likely diminish expectations for the gross domestic product report due out on Friday, and is a bearish signal for US equities.

Silver for May delivery shed 7.3 cents, or 0.48 percent, to close at $15.199 per ounce. Platinum for April delivery dropped $8.4, or 0.87 percent, to close at $952.40 per ounce.