June 7, 2019 / 2:03 PM / 5 months ago

CORRECTED-PRECIOUS-Gold rallies to a 14-month crest as weak U.S. jobs data dents dollar

 (Corrects final paragraph of June 7 story to say palladium
prices were trading around $1,362.39 an ounce, not $801.50)
    * Gold up 2.5% so far this week
    * U.S. job growth slowed sharply in May
    * Dollar plummets to 2-1/2-month low
    * Platinum on track for first weekly gain in 7 weeks

    By Arijit Bose
    June 7 (Reuters) - Gold prices jumped 1% on Friday to their
highest levels since April 2018 as a sharp slowdown in U.S. jobs
growth sent the dollar lower on growing expectations that the
Federal Reserve would cut interest rates this year.
    Gold also has benefited from concerns that U.S. trade wars
with Mexico and China will slow the global economy. The precious
metal is up more than 2.5% so far this week. 
    Spot gold        was 0.4% higher at $1,339.97 per ounce at
2:34 p.m. EDT (1834 GMT), having earlier hit its intra-day high
of $1,348.08.
    U.S. gold futures         settled up 0.3% at $1,346.10 an
ounce.
    The U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday that job growth
slowed sharply in May and wages rose less than expected.             
    "The U.S. jobs number was weaker than expected and that
rallied the gold market. That gives the bulls more technical
momentum," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.
    Chances "have significantly increased that the U.S. Federal
Reserve is going to lower interest rates sooner rather than
later and that is also working in favor of the precious metals
bulls," Wyckoff said.
    Traders of U.S. short-term interest rate futures added to
bets that the Fed will start to cut rates as soon as July and
reduce them two more times before the end of the year.
    Lower interest rates boost gold by reducing the opportunity
cost of holding the metal and by weakening the dollar, which
skidded to its lowest in 2-1/2 months after the U.S. jobs data.
    The United States granted Chinese exporters two more weeks
to get their products into the U.S. before increasing tariffs on
those items, according to a U.S. government notice posted
online.             
    "On China side this going to be a protracted trade war ...
The resulting loss of economic momentum could push more investor
allocations into gold and that would be the primary factor
driving prices north of $1,350 (in the medium term)," said
Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities.
    President Donald Trump said on Friday there was a "good
chance" that the United States would be able to reach a deal
with Mexico over a surge of migrants on their border, although
his administration was still pushing ahead with a plan to slap
import tariffs on all Mexican goods next week.             
    Silver        gained 1.1% to $15.01 per ounce, on track for
its biggest weekly increase since late December.
    Platinum        dipped 0.2% to $801.50 an ounce, but was
headed for its first weekly gain in seven weeks.
    Palladium        was up 0.8% at around $1,362.39 an ounce.

 (Reporting by Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru;
Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Bill Trott)
  
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