Gold eyes another weekly gain ahead of US jobs data

Bengaluru — Gold prices edged higher on Friday and were on track for a third straight weekly gain, with investors keenly awaiting a key US jobs report to gauge the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) rate hike stance.

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,838.38/oz, as of 0238 GMT. Prices up about 0.8% for the week so far. US gold futures gained 0.2% to $1,843.80.

The market’s focus shifts to the US department of labour’s closely watched nonfarm payrolls (NFP) data due at 1330 GMT.

“Higher-than-expected job gains and more persistent wage pressures may be catalysts to add pressure on gold,” said IG Market strategist Yeap Jun Rong. “Gold prices have been finding its way higher since November as bullish bets in dollar and yields unwind. For 2023, gold prices may continue to draw in buyers but it might face some risk from hawkish pushback from policymakers.”

Benchmark 10-year yields inched lower for the day.

Few Fed officials on Thursday reiterated their fight to lower inflation back to its 2% target, but St Louis leader James Bullard said 2023 could finally bring some relief on the inflation front.

Higher rates dim bullion’s anti-inflationary appeal and raise the opportunity cost of holding the nonyielding asset.

Data on Thursday showed that US private payrolls increased more than expected in December while the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a three-month low last week, pointing to a still-tight labour market that could force the Fed to keep hiking interest rates.

“Labour market weakness is around the corner and until that happens, gold might remain stuck above the $1,800 level,” said Edward Moya, senior analyst with Oanda in a note.

Spot silver rose 0.4% to $23.30/oz, while platinum ticked up 0.2% to $1,060.63 and palladium fell 0.2% to $1,741.43. All three metals are headed for a weekly decline.