Gold had been trapped in a range of around $1,220-$1,240 since early February, with unease over the European and U.S. political outlook supporting demand for bullion as a safe haven while the prospect of rising interest rates kept a lid on gains.

Feb 24 Gold prices held steady on Friday near 3-1/2-month highs hit in the previous session following tempered expectations of a U.S. rate hike in March, and as investors awaited clarity on President Donald Trump's economic policy. Next week’s US economic calendar is heavy with releases. Durable Orders will be reported Monday at 08:30 ET followed by Pending Home Sales at 10:00 ET. GDP, Q4 second estimate, will be reported Tuesday at 08:30 ET, followed by Chicago PMI at 09:45 ET and Consumer Confidence at 10:00 ET. Personal Income/Spending and PCE Prices – Core are due Wednesday at 08:30 ET. Also on Wednesday at 10:00 ET, Construction Spending and the ISM Index will be reported at 10:00 ET. Weekly Jobless Claims are due Thursday at 08:30 ET, followed by ISM Services on Friday at 10:00 ET.

While volatility could increase given the full calendar, the rally in gold is expected to prove sustainable. And, large speculators are positioned for a further advance, according to the latest Commitment of Traders Report released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday. The report from the CFTC, with data as of the February 21 close, indicated that large speculators increased long positioning of gold futures by 7,414 contracts and decreased short positioning by 6,597 contracts. This leaves the net long positioning of large speculators in gold futures at 123,763 contracts, the largest net long position since December 13.speculators in gold futures at 123,763 contracts, the largest net long position since December 13.