August 5, 2016
Gold Steady Ahead of US Jobs Data, Eyes Second Weekly Gain
(Reuters) - Gold held steady on Friday as investors awaited U.S. jobs data due later in the day, and the precious metal remained on course for a second straight weekly gain.
Spot gold was flat at $1,361 an ounce by 0347 GMT. It ended up 0.2 percent at $1,360.80 on Thursday and has risen 0.8 percent so far this week.
U.S. gold was nearly unchanged at $1,367.30 an ounce.
People are just waiting for cues on interest rate hike, especially from Friday's nonfarm payrolls, said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. nonfarm employment to have risen by 180,000 in July, while the unemployment rate is forecast to edge down to 4.8 percent from June's 4.9 percent. The official payrolls numbers are due at 1230 GMT Friday.
"The (jobs) data will point to some optimistic economic forecast. Investors will have more speculations on earlier-than-expected rate hike," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.
Spot gold may retest a resistance at $1,368 per ounce, as it has approached this barrier again, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, while renewed job cuts in the energy sector boosted layoffs announced by U.S.-based employers in July.
Asian shares rose on Friday following global stock markets after the Bank of England (BoE) launched a larger-than-expected post-Brexit stimulus package that sent the British pound tumbling.
The BoE cut interest rates to next to nothing on Thursday and unleashed billions of pounds of stimulus to cushion the economic shock from Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
"There's a lot of money in the market (after BoE easing). So, the downside for gold price is limited and it'll be higher in the next few months," a trader in Japan said.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.37 percent to 973.21 tonnes on Thursday.
Among other precious metals, spot palladium fell for a third straight session. It was down 0.7 percent at $699.25.
Spot platinum was down 0.5 percent at $1,153, while spot silver edged up 0.3 percent to $20.35 per ounce.