Losses Mount in Metals as Silver Suffers Worst Week Since 2013

  • Investors count down to U.S. payrolls data for clues on Fed
  • Goldman Sachs says lower prices may be buying opportunity

The Bullish Case for Gold

For all precious metals, this week was the worst in a long time.

Gold sank 4.6 percent this week to $1,255.18 an ounce at 10:07 a.m. in London, on course for the biggest loss since November. Silver was hit harder, plunging 9.5 percent to $17.35 for the steepest slump since 2013. Prices were little changed in trading on Friday.

Investors are increasingly convinced that the Federal Reserve is on the verge of raising U.S. interest rates, which buoyed the dollar. Higher rates hurt the appeal of assets, such as metal that don’t pay interest rates. Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to the second-lowest level since 1973, data showed Thursday, spurring optimism Friday’s payrolls report will reinforce the picture of a strong labor market.

“It’s definitely all about U.S. rates. Everybody is positioning around their take on the likelihood of a hike later this year,” Dan Smith, a commodities analyst at Oxford Economics Ltd. in London, said by phone.

Gold prices have stumbled this month as the rally lost momentum, curbing gains for 2016 to 18 percent. A buying opportunity may open up in gold should prices drop substantially below $1,250, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report received Friday. While the drop over the past month has been in line with the bank’s bearish outlook, there could be a case for purchases if the selloff deepens, according to analysts including Jeffrey Currie and Max Layton.

Measured in sterling, bullion touched a seven-week high of 1,013.74 pounds an ounce as the U.K. currency weakened.

Platinum gained 0.1 percent to $966.20 an ounce on Friday, steadying after six days of losses. For the week, prices are down 6 percent.

Palladium added 0.2 percent to $670.31 an ounce. Prices slid 7 percent this week.

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