Investors sold the most gold from bullion-backed funds in more than a week, while prices were steady before U.S. data forecast to show a pickup in the jobs market.
Holdings in exchange-traded products backed by gold fell by 2.6 metric tons, the most since April 27, to 1,625.3 tons, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of Thursday. Assets in the funds are at the lowest in a week. Gold futures added 0.2 percent to $1,185 an ounce by 7 a.m. in New York.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect Labor Department data Friday to show employers hired 228,000 workers last month, up from 126,000 in March. An improving economy would give the Federal Reserve more room to raise interest rates this year. Higher borrowing costs curb gold’s appeal because the metal generally offers returns only through price gains.
“If the number comes back above expectations, we could see a test of support for gold,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Copenhagen-based Saxo Bank A/S, said by phone. “We’ve seen a succession of lower highs, so the risk is definitely skewed to the downside.”
Bullion for June delivery is up 0.9 percent this week on the Comex in New York, the first such gain in four. Volume on the exchange was 34 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Gold for immediate delivery was little changed on Friday at $1,184.83, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.
A better-than-expected jobs figure would probably push down prices, which have held “quite well” above about $1,180 over the past month, UBS Group AG said in a report Friday.
Silver for July rose 0.2 percent to $16.335 an ounce, set for a second weekly gain. Palladium was little changed at $786 an ounce. Platinum rose 0.5 percent to $1,136.70 an ounce.
Lonmin Plc, the third-biggest platinum producer, plans to cut its workforce costs in South Africa by as much as 10 percent, or about 3,500 jobs. The country’s producers are battling prices that slid 36 percent since 2011 while costs such as power rose as much as 26 percent.