Gold gained for the first time in three days after a report showed more Americans filed for unemployment benefits, boosting prospects that the Federal Reserve will maintain stimulus measures to spur economic growth.
U.S. jobless claims increased by 7,000 to 343,000 in the week ended July 20, the Labor Department said today. Economists projected a rise to 340,000, the median of 49 estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Gold has rallied 8.6 percent this month, heading for the biggest monthly gain since January 2012, after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said it’s too early to decide whether to begin scaling back bond purchases in September.
“It’s all about U.S. data and the Fed,” Chris Gaffney, the senior market Strategist at EverBank Wealth Management, said in a telephone interview from St. Louis. “Today’s jobless numbers are supporting prices.”
Gold futures for December delivery rose 0.7 percent to settle at $1,329.50 an ounce at 1:44 p.m. on the Comex in New York.
Prices have slumped 21 percent this year as the dollar gained 4.1 percent against 10 currencies. The metal also fell as some investors lost faith in bullion as a store of value.
Precious metals will remain under pressure in the second half of the year as investors reduce their holdings further, ABN Amro Group NV said in a report today, forecasting gold prices will average $1,000 next year and $840 in 2015.
Silver futures for September delivery climbed 0.7 percent to $20.154 an ounce on the Comex. Trading was 44 percent lower than the average for the past 100 days for this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1,447.90 an ounce.
Palladium futures for September delivery slipped 0.6 percent to $740.75 an ounce.