Futures & Commodities

Gold pares gains on US jobless claims; recession fears caps pullback

An Argor-Heraeus SA branded two hundred and fifty gram gold bar, center, sits in this arranged photograph at Solar Capital Gold Zrt. in Budapest, Hungary.
Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold retreated slightly after climbing as much as 1.3% earlier on Thursday, as U.S. jobless claims fell marginally and on hopes virus-led restrictions will ease, though concerns of a global recession kept bullions' appeal intact.

Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,724.12 per ounce, holding near a more than seven-year high hit earlier this week. U.S. gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,751.60.

"With the talk of how governments are going to reopen economies, both equities and gold seem to be focused on moving past the peak of the pandemic. So from the perspective that there are some brighter skies ahead we're seeing some pullback," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

"But the main story continues to be that gold has been fairly well supported in an environment where we're seeing unprecedented amount of central bank and fiscal stimulus from governments around the world," Meger added.

Data showed, another 5.2 million more Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, down from a slightly revised 6.6 million the week before, but lifting total filings for claims over the past month above an astounding 20 million.

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to announce new guidelines to reopen the economy after a month-long shutdown over the outbreak, despite concerns from health experts, governors and business leaders about a resurgence in cases without more testing and protocols in place.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc in global markets stalling life and economic activity across the world, infecting more than 2 million and killing 136,667.

"The health, financial and economic uncertainties generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath are likely to continue to support gold's rally well into 2021," James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC said in a note.

"We believe low interest rates, monetary accommodation and fiscal spending across the world for the foreseeable future will cement and extend gold's rally, as investors target bullion for its hard asset characteristics and liquidity."

On the physical side, gold consumption in India, the second largest buyer of the precious metal, could hit a three-decade low in 2020 as a nationwide lockdown has closed jewellery stores during key festivals and the wedding season.

Elsewhere, palladium eased 0.3% to $2,172.41 an ounce, and platinum rose 0.1% to $780.10. Silver fell 0.5 to $15.39 per ounce.