Gold drops 1% after robust U.S. jobs data

Gold fell one percent on Friday as strong U.S. jobs data renewed bets the Federal Reserve would hold pat on interest rates and boosted demand for riskier assets, while supply-squeezed palladium soared to a new record high.

U.S. job growth increased by the most in 10 months in November, confirming that the economy remained on a moderate expansion path despite a prolonged manufacturing slump.

Spot gold slipped 1 percent to $1,461.01 per ounce. U.S. gold futures settled down 1.1 percent at $1,465.1 per ounce.

“The better-than-expected jobs report has dented demand for safe-haven products such as gold,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

The jobs data pushed up the dollar, while U.S. stock index futures jumped as the positive economic readings added to an upbeat mood after U.S. President Donald Trump said trade talks with China were “moving right along”.

In a positive gesture, China said it will waive import tariffs for some soybeans and pork shipments from the United States. Looking ahead, the market focus will be on the Fed’s meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. The U.S. central bank is expected to keep interest rates on hold at 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent.

“The (jobs) report falls squarely to the camp of the U.S. monetary policy hawks who do not want to see interest rates rise anytime soon, and that is bearish for the metals market,” said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar.

“On the technical side, a close below the $1,460-65 area could open gold up to the $1,445-47 November lows, and beyond that towards $1,400-$1,420 congestion area over the summer,” said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

Elsewhere, autocatalyst metal palladium continued scaling fresh peaks, hitting $1,880.37 for the first time.

“The demand for palladium is typically steady and practically price-inelastic, so it could be on its way to the $1,900 mark. The strong jobs numbers are helping the metal since jobs growth indicates a healthy economy and translates into more people buying cars,” BMO’s Wong said.

Other metals latched onto gold’s slide as well, with silver falling 2 percent to $16.60 per ounce, having earlier touched a low since August 7 at $16.51. Platinum fell 0.4 percent to $893.25.

Source: Reuters