Gold fell on Friday, pulling back from a more than six-month peak hit earlier in the session, after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data, while palladium prices punched through the key $1,300 level for the first time.
Spot gold slipped 0.78 percent to $1,283.56 per ounce as of 2:00 p.m. ET, after dropping as much as 1.3 percent to $1,276.40.
The metal was however on track for a third straight weekly gain, up about 0.2 percent so far, mainly helped by recent strong gains. It touched its highest level since mid-June at $1,298.42 earlier in the day.
U.S. gold futures settled down $9.00 to $1,285.80 per ounce.
“Industrial commodities and currencies have rebounded therefore the precious metals which have been the safe haven such as gold, silver have retraced today,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.
“That is exacerbated by a stronger-than-expected payrolls data.”
Data showed U.S. employers hired the most workers in 10 months in December while boosting wages, pointing to sustained strength in the economy that could ease fears of a sharp slowdown in growth.
“Today’s U.S. jobs report throws more uncertainty into the direction of Federal Reserve monetary policy, which had already been seen as murky,” Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, wrote in a note.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday moved to mollify financial markets concerned about a U.S. economic slowdown, saying that while momentum is solid, the U.S. central bank will be sensitive to the downside risks the market is pricing in.
“Mr. Powell said he is open to a potential view change but so long as the data stays strong in the U.S. we will continue to project hikes in the interest rates in the U.S. by the central bank,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Also pressuring bullion was a rebound in world stock markets, which rallied on hopes of upcoming trade talks between United States and China.
“In the near term we are probably still headed a little lower. Around $1,280-$1,290 is probably where we are going to be based,” Melek said.
Elsewhere, palladium prices surged 2.18 percent to $1,291.56 per ounce, having hit a record high of $1,310 earlier.
“Palladium has broken out to the upside on tight supply, increasing demand, a weaker dollar,” said Phil Streible, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.
Platinum jumped 2.77 percent to $820.40, after touching $820.30 an ounce, its highest price since Nov. 30.
Silver eased 0.48 percent to $15.66 per ounce, having earlier hit $15.87, it highest since mid-July.