Gold futures capped the first weekly decline in a month as better-than-expected U.S. economic data increased speculation that the Federal Reserve may slow the pace of fiscal stimulus.
Claims for jobless benefits in U.S. fell to a five-year low, the Labor Department reported yesterday and manufacturing rose in July at the fastest pace in more than two years, a private group reported yesterday, while employers added fewer workers than forecast last month, a report showed today. Prices have slumped 22 percent this year as the dollar gained 4.3 percent against 10 currencies. The metal also retreated as some investors lost faith in bullion as a store of value.
“Earlier this week we saw economic data that pointed towards a recovery, and that coupled with a strong dollar kept gold under pressure,” Tom Power, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Today’s data was positive for gold, but not enough to turn the direction of the market.”
Gold futures for December delivery fell 0.1 percent to settle at $1,310.50 an ounce at 1:43 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after dropping as much as 2.2 percent to $1,282.40, the lowest since July 18. Prices rebounded after payrolls in the U.S. rose by 162,000, less than estimated, and the jobless rate dropped to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent. The precious metal lost 0.9 percent this week, after rallying the previous three weeks.
Bullion more than doubled from 2008 to a record $1,923.70 in September 2011 as the central bank bought more than $2 trillion of debt. The Fed currently buys $85 billion of bonds a month.
Silver futures for September delivery jumped 1.5 percent to $19.912 an ounce in New York, the biggest gain since July 22, pushing the precious metal to a 0.7 percent increase for the week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery gained 0.5 percent to $1,451.50 an ounce.
Palladium futures for September delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $729.70 an ounce.
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