Gold gains as US jobs data fails to bolster early Fed tightening bets

Gold rose on Friday, climbing further up from a two-month trough hit during the week, as the dollar weakened and investors weighed prospects for U.S. Federal Reserve tightening after a strong U.S. jobs report that nevertheless showed a slight uptick in the unemployment rate.

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,781.77 per ounce by 12:48 pm EDT (1648 GMT), after jumping to $1,794.86, its highest level since June 18. U.S. gold futures gained 0.4% to $1,782.90.

Data showed U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 850,000 jobs, although the unemployment rate rose to 5.9% from 5.8% in the previous month.

U.S. Fed officials have suggested recently that the central bank should begin to taper its asset purchases this year.

Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago, said the data was unlikely to trigger a rush from the Fed to ease stimulus or begin interest rate hikes and said gold was supported because “a lot of analysts were secretly looking for a much larger surprise build”.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar fell after the report, buoying gold as lower yields reduce its opportunity cost.

Also on investors radar was the Delta coronavirus variant which prompted some countries in Asia and Europe to walk back on reopening plans.

These concerns, and lower vaccination rates in some parts of the United States, could convince some investors the Fed will be cautious about hiking interest rates, supporting gold in the longer-term, said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

But in the near-term, “gold is facing technical resistance at around $1,790 and will likely tread water until we see some weaker-than-expected economy data.”

Silver rose 1.2% to $26.33 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.2% to $1,085.04 and palladium was up 0.6% at $2,779.85.

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