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PRECIOUS-Gold slips as dollar strengthens before U.S. jobs report

Kitco News

* Gold on track for seventh straight week of gains

* U.S. non-farm payrolls data due at 1230 GMT

* Palladium set to post fifth weekly rise (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Swati Verma

July 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Friday as the dollar gained before the release of U.S. jobs data, which could offer guidance on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s upcoming interest rate decisions.

Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,414.15 per ounce as of 0948 GMT. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.3% to $1,416.70 an ounce.

“The gold market still has to adjust to the rapid rally we saw at the beginning of the week when prices shot back above $1,400 per ounce, which in my view was driven by more positive sentiment in the gold market rather than any fundamental developments,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

“At the moment we see the dollar a tad stronger and euro weak, which usually holds gold back. The readiness to push prices higher by speculators is also pretty limited.”

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies gained 0.2%, making gold expensive for holders of other currencies.

Despite a slight decline on Friday, the metal has risen 0.3% so far this week, which could be its seventh straight week of gains.

Investors are now waiting for the U.S. Labor Market non-farm payrolls data due at 1230 GMT, which are expected to have jumped by 160,000 in June compared with 75,000 in May.

“A positive surprise clearly would be negative for gold, as it would put in question the necessity of a rate cut by the Fed next month, which the market has priced in already and had been benefiting gold,” Menke added.

Gold prices climbed to a six-year high of $1,438.63 an ounce last week, driven by expectations of rate cuts by major central banks and fears of a slowdown in the global economy.

Lower interest rates tend to support the buying of non-interest-paying bullion, which is often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

“The main trend remains bullish as prices are holding well above the key support level of $1,380 and the psychological threshold of $1,400,” Carlo Alberto De Casa, chief analyst with ActivTrades, wrote in a note.

“Any slowdown in the U.S. economy which could make the Fed take a more dovish turn could be a supportive element for bullion.”

Among other precious metals, silver fell 0.4% to $15.21 per ounce, while platinum edged 0.2% lower to $830.72.

Palladium rose 0.1% to $1,563.07 an ounce and was heading for a fifth straight weekly gain. (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru Editing by Edmund Blair)

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