Gold climbs on weaker dollar after US jobs data

Gold prices edged up on Monday on technical buying and a weaker dollar after mixed U.S. jobs data late last week muted expectations for near-term interest rate hikes.

Spot gold had gained 0.3 percent to $1,223 per ounce by 0300 GMT.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.4 percent to $1,225.10 per ounce.

U.S. jobs growth surged more than expected in January as construction firms and retailers ramped up hiring, but wages barely rose, handing the administration under President Donald Trump both a head start and a challenge as it seeks to boost the economy.

The dollar Index was down 0.2 percent at 99.723.

“Gold is pointing to push higher from all fronts on charts,” said Brian Lan, managing director at gold dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.

“Gold should be testing $1,225 today and the next resistance level would be around $1,230.”

Spot gold may rise towards resistance at $1,249 per ounce, as it has managed to stand above resistance at $1,219, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Wall Street’s top banks expect just two rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year and see only a modest risk to the U.S. central bank being pressed into a more aggressive pace of monetary policy tightening, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

“It’s unlikely there will be a rate hike in March as there is too much political unrest in the United States. At least in the first half of the year, gold should do quite well,” Lan said.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Investor interest in gold was underscored by U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data on Friday that showed speculators increased their net long position in COMEX gold contracts to the highest in eight weeks in the week to January 31.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, climbed 0.41 percent to 814.51 tonnes on Friday from 811.22 tonnes on Thursday.

Spot silver on Monday rose 0.5 percent to $17.56 an ounce.

Platinum prices were firm at $1,003.60, while palladium rose 0.5 percent to $749.72.

Source: Reuters