Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Gold futures rose to a three-week high after payrolls in the U.S. climbed less than projected in September, increasing speculation that the Federal Reserve will maintain monetary stimulus to boost the economy.
The addition of 148,000 workers followed a revised 193,000 rise in August, Labor Department figures showed today. The median forecast of 93 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected an increase of 180,000. The report, delayed by the 16-day government shutdown that ended Oct. 17, was slated for Oct. 4.
“The payrolls data is pushing gold higher as investors think the economy needs more support to gain momentum,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
Gold futures for December delivery climbed 2 percent to settle at $1,342.60 an ounce at 1:40 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after reaching $1,344.70, the highest for a most-active contract since Sept. 30.
Fed policy makers will delay reducing $85 billion in monthly bond purchases until March, according to the median estimate of 40 economists in a Bloomberg survey last week.
This year, gold has dropped 20 percent, heading for the first annual decline since 2000. Some investors lost faith in the metal amid a rally in U.S. equities and low inflation.
Silver futures for December delivery climbed 2.3 percent to $22.79 an ounce. Earlier, the price reached $22.83, the highest since Sept. 20.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for January delivery increased 0.8 percent to $1,450.70 an ounce. The price climbed for the fifth straight session, the longest rally since December. Earlier, the commodity reached $1,452.80, the highest since Sept. 20.
Palladium futures for December delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $752.90 an ounce. The metal advanced for the fifth straight session, the longest rally since July. Earlier, the price reached $754.35, the highest since Aug. 27.
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