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Gold Still Weak After U.S. Jobless Claims Rise 24,000 To 242,000

Kitco News

Editor's Note: Updating earlier story with more details from report.

(Kitco News) - Gold prices maintained overnight losses after a Labor Department report Thursday showed that initial weekly U.S. jobless claims rose by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 242,000 in the week to Saturday.

Consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations called for initial claims to be around 225,000 to 230,000. The government revised the prior week’s tally to 218,000 claims from the previously reported 215,000.

As of 8:28 a.m. EDT, Comex June gold was trading down $9.60 for the day to $1,330.6 an ounce. Two minutes ahead of the report, the metal was at $1,329.30.

Normally, softer U.S. economic data would be favorable for gold since it would reduce the likelihood of aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. However, gold was already on the defensive ahead of the report on signs that the U.S. and China were willing to resolve trade differences to avoid an all-out trade war, thus taking away some of the demand for gold as a safe haven.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smoothens out week-to-week volatility – was up by 3,000 claims to 228,250.

Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, decreased by 64,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1,808,000 during the week ending March 24, the government said. The four-week moving average fell by 13,500 to 1,848,250.

Traders monitor jobs data closely to gauge how aggressively the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee alters monetary policy.

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