Gold struggles as dollar firms ahead of U.S. jobs data

GOLD

Gold is sensitive to interest rates and returns on other assets as rising rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

SINGAPORE – Gold looked likely to extend losses to a fifth straight session on Friday as the dollar rebounded ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls data later in the session. Spot gold was little changed at $1,276.80 an ounce by 0041 GMT after four days of losses.

The metal has closed lower every session this week despite hitting a 15-month top of $1,303.60 on Monday. Gold is down 1.3 percent for the week, its biggest weekly drop in six though the direction could change depending on U.S. jobs data later. The dollar rose to a one-week high against a basket of major currencies on Thursday after sliding to a 15-month low this week as traders closed out profitable bets against the greenback before the U.S. payrolls report.

Investors are eyeing U.S. economic data to gauge the Federal Reserve’s outlook on monetary policy.
The Fed raised rates for the first time in a decade in December from near zero but has since stood pat, in part because of global economic uncertainty. A strong payrolls numbers could prompt the Fed to raise
rates sooner than later. Economists polled by Reuters forecast U.S. employers likely added 202,000 workers in April following a 215,000 increase in March with the jobless rate holding at 5.0 percent.
Gold is sensitive to interest rates and returns on other assets as rising rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Assets in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.47 percent to 829.44 tonnes on Thursday to the highest in over two years. Silver demand hit a record high last year as increased buying by the coin and bar, jewellery and photovoltaic sectors offset weakness in industrial demand, a Silver Institute report showed on Thursday. Soaring silver prices are changing the market’s 2016 landscape as bargain-hunting coin buyers step to the sidelines, and futures and options participants take the reins, said Erica Rannestad, a senior analyst at GFMS.

U.S. stocks ended steady on Thursday as a mixed quarterly earnings season winds down, but Treasury yields fell to two week lows as investors hedged positions ahead of the monthly U.S. government employment report due on Friday.(Reuters)