February 01, 2018
PRECIOUS-Gold little changed ahead of U.S. nonfarm payroll data
(Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed on Thursday as investors awaited the U.S. nonfarm payroll data for cues on the health of the world's largest economy, a day after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged.
The Fed said inflation is likely to quicken this year, bolstering expectations borrowing costs will continue to climb under incoming central bank chief Jerome Powell.
Traders now await the jobs report on Friday that will include data on nonfarm payrolls to see if they offer more than a brief respite to the ailing dollar.
Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,345.00 per ounce at 0502 GMT. It touched $1,332.30 an ounce in the previous session, its lowest since Jan. 23.
U.S. gold futures for February delivery rose 0.4 percent to $1,344.50 per ounce.
"I don't think too much will happen until tomorrow ahead of the nonfarm payroll release ... We see some range-bound trading from there," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.
At Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's last policy meeting as head of the central bank, the Fed left interest rates unchanged. But its message on inflation signalled it was on track to raise borrowing costs in March under incoming central bank chief Jerome Powell.
Inflation worries generally boost gold, which is seen as a safe-haven against rising prices. But expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates to fight inflation make gold less attractive because it does not pay interest.
"We remain somewhat friendly to gold in the short-term; the dollar seems to be adrift, as investors are unsure what direction to push it," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.
The dollar held steady against a basket of major currencies after the Fed signalled its confidence about inflation and growth in the world's biggest economy, reinforcing views it will raise rates several more times this year.
A stronger dollar makes bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies, while higher interest rates lead to higher bond yields and dampen demand for non-yielding gold.
"We are detecting some sluggishness in the U.S. equity markets and so this asset class might not prove to be as formidable a competitor to gold going forward," Meir added.
Spot gold is biased to break a resistance at $1,347 perounce and rise towards the next one at $1,357, as it has stabilized around a support at $1,335, according to Reuters technical analyst, Wang Tao.
In other precious metals, silver fell 0.2 percent to $17.28 per ounce. Platinum declined 0.2 percent, to $998.50 per ounce.
Palladium edged 0.1 percent lower to $1,026.97 per ounce after falling to $1,022.47 an ounce in the previous session, its lowest since Dec. 20.