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Gold price at session highs as U.S. weekly jobless claims rise to 200k

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(Kitco News) - The gold market continues to attract new bullish momentum as prices push back above $1.900 an ounce as more American workers than expected filed for first-time unemployment benefits.

Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said that weekly jobless claims rose by 19,000 to 200,000, up from the previous week's revised estimate of 181,000 claims. The latest labor market data missed expectations. According to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see jobless claims to remain unchanged.

The gold market has been pushing solidly higher following the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision Wednesday. As expected, the U.S. central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points. Although the Federal Reserve signaled more aggressive rate hikes, Chair Jerome Powell, pushed back on the idea that the committee would raise interest rates by 75 basis points.

Gold prices are currently at session highs. June gold futures last traded at $1,906.50 an ounce, up 2% on the day.

The gold market as seen significant gains in recent weeks, driven by safe-haven demand as Russia's war with Ukraine dominates investor sentiment. At the same time, U.S. economic data is not having much impact on gold prices. April gold futures last traded at $2,009.20 an ounce, up 1% on the day.

Weekly jobless claims are currently at their highest level in a month. The four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it flattens week-to-week volatility – rose to 188,000, up by 8,000 claims from the previous week's revised average.

Continuing jobless claims, which represent the number of people already receiving benefits, were at 1.384 million during the week ending April 23, increasing by 19,000 from the previous week's revised level.

“This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since January 17, 1970 when it was 1,371,000,” the report said.

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