Gold futures settled higher on Friday, extending gains from the previous session, as the dollar continued to exhibit weakness against most of its peers on U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's comments about the need for additional economic stimulus.
Yellen, who urged lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package, said the proposal could help the U.S. get back to full employment within a year. She added that recent signs of improvement in the U.S. economy are no reason to scale back the relief plan.
She also dismissed Republican complaints about the size of the proposed bill, arguing, "The price of doing too little is much higher than the price of doing something big."
The dollar index, which eased to 90.18 in the European session, recovered some lost ground, but was still well below the flat line a little while ago, hovering around 90.40 and down more than 0.2% from previous close.
Gold futures for April ended up $2.40 or about 0.1% at $1,777.40 an ounce, despite falling to a more than 7-month of $1,759.00 during the session. Gold futures shed about 2.5% in the week.
Silver futures for March gained $0.176 or about 0.7%, settling at $27.254 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $4.0740 per pound, gaining $0.1730 or about 4.2%.
In U.S. economic news, a report released by the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales rose by 0.6% to an annual rate of 6.69 million in January after climbing by 0.9% to a revised rate of 6.65 million in December. Compared to the same month a year ago, existing home sales in January were up by 23.7%.
Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 2.2% to a rate of 6.61 million in December from the 6.76 million originally reported for the previous month.