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Commodities

Gold hits near 10-month high after weaker than expected US jobs report for August

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 September, 2017, 3:24am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 September, 2017, 3:28am

Gold rose to the highest in nearly 10 months on Friday after US job growth slowed more than expected in August, but pared gains when investors judged that the figures were unlikely to change the outlook for US interest rate increases.

Spot palladium prices made their biggest one-day surge since March 2016 and reached the highest price in 16-1/2 years after some US carmakers reported better-than-expected August sales and as demand was expected from Houston to replace flood-damaged vehicles after Hurricane Harvey.

Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at US$1,324.46 an ounce, having hit US$1,328.80, the highest since November 9. It was set for a weekly gain of 2.6 per cent.

US gold futures settled up 0.6 per cent at US$1,330.40. On Monday, the US metals futures markets will shut early for the US Labour Day holiday.

Data showed US job growth slowed more than expected, but the pace of gains should be more than enough for the Federal Reserve to announce a plan to start trimming its massive bond portfolio.

US jobs growth slows in August more than expected

The dollar index and bond yields initially weakened sharply following the jobs data but turned higher.

“Investors have been looking for a hedge against many risks,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management. “Pick your poison: trade, geopolitics, thermonuclear, debt ceiling.”

Gold is still likely to rise further after prices increased by 4.1 per cent in August, the biggest monthly gain since January, said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

“The technical uptrend is well established, there is continuing uncertainty over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and an imminent wrangle between Congress and the White House over the debt ceiling that must be solved by late September to avoid technical default,” he said.

Adding to geopolitical concerns, the United States on Thursday told Russia to close a consulate, worsening a diplomatic spat.

Spot palladium was 5.2 per cent higher at US$982 an ounce, the highest since February 2001.

“Palladium stormed 5 per cent higher as speculators bought aggressively anticipating heavy demand to replace vehicles destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in a thin pre-holiday market in New York,” said Tai Wong, director of base and precious metals trading for BMO Capital Markets in New York.

“The platinum/palladium ratio at 1.0250 is the closest it has been to par in 16 years.”

Platinum was up 1.1 per cent to US$1,006, after rising to a six-month high at US$1,009.

Silver was up 0.6 per cent at US$17.67 an ounce, after rising to the highest since early June at US$17.75.

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