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Gold prices moved higher on Thursday as the dollar tumbled after data showed a substantial increase in U.S. jobless claims in the week ended March 21.

The dollar index dropped to a low of 99.36, losing about 1.7%.

Gold futures for April ended up $17.80, or about 1.1%, at $1,651.20 an ounce, after scaling a high of $1,672.50 earlier in the session.

On Wednesday, gold futures for April ended down $27.40, or 1.7%, at $1,633.40 an ounce, after surging up 5.6% and 6% in the previous two sessions.

Silver futures for May ended down $0.197 at $14.676 an ounce, while Copper futures for May closed lower by $0.0260 at $2.1780 per pound.

According to the data released by the Labor Department this morning, first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 21st saw a record spike, reflecting the shutdown of large swaths of the U.S. economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The data said initial jobless claims skyrocketed to 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level of 282,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to spike to about 1.5 million from the 281,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the record-breaking increase, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims reached the highest level in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982.

The report also said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, jumped by 101,000 to 1.803 million in the week ended March 14th.

The increase drove continuing claims to their highest level since reaching 1.824 million in the week ended April 14, 2018.

Meanwhile, according to a report released by the Commerce Department, the increase in U.S. gross domestic product in the fourth quarter was unrevised from the previous estimate.

The Commerce Department said GDP increased by 2.1% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from the estimate provided last month and in line with economist estimates.