Gold settles at highest in 1 month on US data


Gold rose two percent to above $1,200 an ounce on Wednesday, heading for a second session of gains as the dollar hit a near three-month low after disappointing U.S. employment data.

U.S. retail sales were also unchanged in April as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and other big-ticket items, suggesting the economy was struggling to make a strong rebound after barely growing in the first quarter.

Spot gold hit a five-week high of $1,218 an ounce after the U.S. data and was last trading up 1.8 percent at $1,214.30. U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up $25.80 at $1,218.20 an ounce, its highest settle since early April.

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The metal added to Tuesday's one percent gains, when it benefited from the softer dollar and volatility in global bond markets.

"A close above technical resistance at $1,215 could help gold exiting the narrow trading range between $1,175 and $1,225 the metal has been confined over the past ten weeks," ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa said.

"The dollar's weakening has been instrumental to the latest move higher and of course the view that the Fed is less likely to raise interest rates next month after weak economic data."

The dollar fell 1 percent against a basket of leading currencies, after the U.S. jobs data that helped push back expectations of when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates.

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Fed officials provided no clarity on Tuesday on when the U.S. central bank would raise interest rates.

A top Fed official said he did not know when interest rates would rise, but tempered that uncertainty by applauding an apparent consensus between markets and the U.S. central bank that it would happen later this year.

Interest rates at rock-bottom levels have benefited gold since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Gold shrugged off the impact of stronger European and U.S. shares, indicating increased investor appetite for risk.

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German and U.S. 10-year bond yields, which climbed on Tuesday, retreated, decreasing the opportunity cost of holding gold, a non-interest bearing asset.

"The question facing gold is will bullion derive more upwards thrust from a weaker dollar or will rising yields sap and possibly reverse the rally?" HSBC said in a note.

"It appears that the currency markets are more influential in aiding bullion, at least near term, although gold is running into resistance at the $1,200 an ounce psychological level."

Silver climbed 3.3 percent to a five-week high of $17.10 an ounce. Platinum rose 0.9 percent to $1,140.62 an ounce, while palladium was up 0.3 percent at $784.72 an ounce.