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PRECIOUS-Gold up 1.4 pct, above $1,350/oz, after US jobless claims

Frank Tang and Jan Harvey
Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 | 2:07 PM ET

* Gold at one-month high on hopes Fed to keep stimulus

* US weekly jobless claims fall less than expected

* Bullion breaks above 50-day moving average resistance

NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Gold rose 1.4 percent on Thursday, breaking above $1,350 an ounce for the first time in more than a month, on rekindled buying interest prompted by ideas the Federal Reserve will continue its monetary stimulus after Thursday's disappointing U.S. jobless claims data. Bullion prices rallied after the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week. Technical buying also lifted gold after it breached key resistance at its 50-day moving average. Also, analysts cited a two-month high in the open interest for U.S. gold futures, a liquidity gauge, for bullion's gains. "With open interest in gold growing, it indicates new business is not just because of short covering, and that gold buyers may keep a steady course," said George Gero, vice president of RBC Capital Markets. Spot gold rose 1.4 percent to $1,350.06 an ounce by 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), having earlier hit $1,351.61, its highest since Sept. 20. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up $16.30 an ounce at $1,350.30, with trading volume on track to finish near their 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data shows. Gold was also underpinned by a weaker U.S. dollar and by U.S. Treasury bond yields hovering near a three-month low after the weekly jobless claims data. "A lot of people positioned themselves for a lower figure just ahead of the jobs release and prices were pushed higher," said MKS SA Senior Vice President Bernard Sin said. "Overall, gold should be supported in the short term, especially if U.S. data keeps falling short of expectations ... that should put further pressure on the dollar and reinforce the argument for the Fed to keep its stimulus," said Sin. A two-week U.S. government shutdown this month increased expectations that the U.S. central bank will delay such a move until next year and helped to lift gold earlier this week. Positive manufacturing data from China, the world's second-largest gold consumer, also helped support gold prices on Thursday, traders said. In research news, Goldman Sachs said it expects gold prices to fall to $1,144 an ounce in 2014, driven by improving U.S. economic data, rising real rates and the commencement of tapering of U.S. monetary stimulus. Among other precious metals, silver was up 1.3 percent at $22.79 an ounce, while platinum also rose 1.3 percent to $1,449.49 an ounce, and palladium inched down 28 cents to $743.72 an ounce. Prices at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT)

LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG US gold 1350.30 16.30 1.2% -19.4% US silver 22.810 0.002 0.9% -24.5% US platinum 1453.30 13.70 1.0% -5.6% US palladium 747.15 1.05 0.1% 6.2% Gold 1350.06 18.32 1.4% -19.4% Silver 22.79 0.30 1.3% -24.8% Platinum 1449.49 19.19 1.3% -5.7% Palladium 743.72 -0.28 0.0% 5.9% Gold Fix 1344.75 8.50 0.6% -19.2% Silver Fix 22.67 14.00 0.6% -24.3% Platinum Fix 1447.00 6.00 0.4% -5.0% Palladium Fix 749.00 2.00 0.3% 7.2%