Futures & Commodities

Gold rallies to 14-month crest, on track for best week in 3 years

Umit Bektas | Reuters

Gold prices jumped 1% on Friday to their highest levels since April 2018 as a sharp slowdown in U.S. jobs growth sent the dollar lower on growing expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates this year.

Gold also has benefited from concerns that U.S. trade wars with Mexico and China will slow the global economy. The precious metal is up about 3% so far this week, on track for its biggest weekly gain since April 2016.

Spot gold was 0.6% higher to $1,343.07 per ounce, having earlier hit its intra-day high of $1,348.08.

U.S. gold futures settled $3.40 higher at $1,346.10. 

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday that job growth slowed sharply in May and wages rose less than expected.

"The U.S. jobs number was weaker than expected and that rallied the gold market. That gives the bulls more technical momentum," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.

Chances "have significantly increased that the U.S. Federal Reserve is going to lower interest rates sooner rather than later and that is also working in favour of the precious metals bulls," Wyckoff said.

Traders of U.S. short-term interest rate futures added to bets that the Fed will start to cut rates as soon as July and reduce them two more times before the end of the year.

On Thursday, New York Fed President John Williams on acknowledged the impact of trade and global growth concerns on business investment.

Lower interest rates boost gold by reducing the opportunity cost of holding the metal and by weakening the dollar, which skidded to its lowest in 2-1/2 months after the U.S. jobs data.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration pushed ahead on Friday with a plan to slap a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, as the two sides started a third day of talks to reach a deal to stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants into the United States.

Among other metals, silver soared 1.3% to $15.04 per ounce, on track for its biggest weekly increase since late December.

Platinum rose 0.2% to $805.00 an ounce. The metal was headed for its first weekly gain in seven.

Palladium was up 0.6% at $1,359.16 an ounce.