Futures & Commodities

Gold jumps as dollar slips; still on track for a weekly fall

Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant in Vienna, Austria.
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters

Gold prices jumped on Friday, moving further away from a four-month low hit in the previous session, as the dollar slid despite data showing that U.S. jobs growth climbed last month.

Spot gold gained 0.8% to $1,280.66 per ounce and was on track to its biggest percentage gain since March 8.

In the previous session, the metal dropped to $1,265.85, its lowest since the end of December. U.S. gold futures settled $9.30 higher at $1,281.30.

"The bounce we are seeing is because the metal is oversold, and there is technical buying coming in right now," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

"Good news on the jobs report was already priced-in," he added.

U.S. job growth surged in April and the unemployment rate dropped to a more than 49-year low of 3.6%, pointing to sustained strength in economic activity.

The dollar index dropped 0.2% following that release of the ISM U.S. service sector PMI, which fell to its lowest since August 2017 last month.

A weaker greenback makes bullion cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

Despite the gains, gold is still on track to post a weekly decline of about 0.4% after the U.S. Federal Reserve emphasised it saw no compelling reason to consider a rate cut any time soon.

"People expected the next move from the Fed to be a rate cut but it doesn't look like there would be a rate cut anytime soon and the risk of another hike on the table increased after his statement," Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig said.

Reflecting investor sentiment towards bullion, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), SPDR Gold Trust, fell about 0.2% to 745.52 tonnes on Thursday, its lowest since Oct. 12.

"The ETF holdings in gold continue to decline and in the last few week specs on COMEX switched from net long to net short as there is a risk on approach from investors," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

Market participants were also keeping a close watch on U.S.-China trade talks, anticipating a resolution to the year long tariff war between the world's two largest economies.

Among other metals, silver rose 2% to $14.92 per ounce, after falling to a more than four-month low of $14.52 in the previous session.

Platinum gained 1.9% to $864.03 an ounce, having touched a one-month low of $839 earlier in the session, while palladium climbed 1.7% to $1,377.16.