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Gold prices tread water as rate fears grow ahead of nonfarm payrolls

Published 05/03/2024, 12:46 AM
© Reuters.

Investing.com-- Gold prices moved little in Asian trade on Friday as markets remained averse to the yellow metal before key U.S. payrolls data, while the prospect of high for longer interest rates put gold on course for weekly losses. 

The yellow metal was nursing a sharp fall from record highs over the past two weeks, as safe haven demand dried up and pressure from U.S. interest rates came back into play. 

Spot gold steadied at $2,302.72 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in June inched up slightly to $2,311.45 an ounce by 00:21 ET (04:21 GMT). 

The yellow metal saw some price relief as the dollar tumbled in overnight trade. But this only served to limit recent losses in gold. 

Gold down about 1% this week, nonfarm payrolls awaited 

Spot prices were down about 1% this week- their second straight week in red. Losses in bullion came as the outlook for prices was dulled by the prospect of U.S. rates remaining high for longer.

Nonfarm payrolls data due later on Friday is expected to further factor into the outlook for rates. Any persistent signs of strength in the labor market gives the Fed more headroom to keep rates high for longer. 

The central bank recently warned that this was likely to remain the case in the near-term, with sticky inflation also giving the Fed little cause to lower interest rates. But the Fed also signaled that it did not intend to hike rates further. 

Still, the prospect of high for longer rates bodes poorly for gold, given that it increases the opportunity cost of investing in the yellow metal. As geopolitical tensions in the Middle East eased, safe haven demand for gold ran dry, leaving the yellow metal vulnerable to rate ructions. 

Other precious metals were somewhat mixed this week. Silver futures rose slightly on Friday and were set for a second week in red. But platinum futures were set for a nearly 6% bounce this week as they rebounded from three-week lows. 

Copper prices head for weekly losses after 5-week rally 

Among industrial metals, copper prices were flat on Friday, and were headed for mild weekly losses as fears of U.S. rates sparked some profit-taking. But prices still remained in sight of recent two-year peaks. 

Three-month copper futures on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.2% to $9,827.0 a ton, while one-month copper futures fell slightly to $4.5012 a pound. 

The two contracts were set to lose between 1% and 1.5% this week after rallying for five consecutive weeks, on expectations of tighter supplies.

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