Gold rose from a two-week low after U.S. payroll gains last month trailed estimates by analysts, reviving prospects for extended economic stimulus by the Federal Reserve and stoking demand for the metal as a store of value.
Employers added 169,000 workers after an increase in July of 104,000 that was smaller than first estimated, government figures showed today. The median forecast of 96 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an August gain of 180,000. Gold has fallen 17 percent this year partly on speculation that the Fed would curb bond purchases as soon as this month.
“Today’s data makes it clear that the economy is still weak,” Carlos Perez-Santalla, a New York-based broker at Marex North America LLC, said in a telephone interview. “People think that the Fed may have to delay tapering.”
Gold futures for December delivery gained 1 percent to settle at $1,386.50 an ounce at 1:37 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $1,358.80, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 22. The metal has dropped 28 percent from the record $1,923.70 two years ago.
Fed officials are considering whether a rebound in the economy warrants curbing $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. Policy makers start a two-day meeting on Sept. 17. Gold rose 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the Fed pumped more than $2 trillion into the financial system by purchasing debt.
Gold has climbed 18 percent from a 34-month low in June as sales of jewelry, bars and coins surged in Asia. Concern that the U.S. will attack Syria for use of chemical weapons against civilians boosted demand for the metal as a haven.
Silver futures for December delivery rose 2.7 percent to $23.891 an ounce.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery advanced 0.9 percent to $1,495.70 an ounce. Palladium futures for December delivery rose 1.4 percent to $696.85 an ounce. The price dropped in the previous six sessions, the longest slump in almost 16 months.