Gold climbs in early trading as calls for Russian sanctions grow as peace talks fail to progress and images of what appears to be the deliberate killing of civilians in Ukraine. The impending Fed rate hike continues to cap the bullion’s gains.
Front-month gold futures are currently up $11.20 (+0.58%) an ounce to $1,934.90 and the DG spot price is $1,933.40. It dropped 1.8% last week to settle at $1,923.70 an ounce on Comex, after the June contract dropped 1.6% Friday. Gold advanced 2.8% in March after gaining 5.8% in February. It gained 6.9% in the first quarter and retreated 3.5% in 2021.
The U.S. jobs report for March, which was released Friday, showed the economy added 431,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.6%. While the figure was slightly below expectations, the report was seen as positive, and investors are betting on more aggressive interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve. Rate hikes are typically bearish for gold and bullish Treasurys. Minutes of the meeting of Fed policymakers are due out this week.
But gold continued to attract haven investors as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine stretched into another month. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday accused Russia of war crimes after a mass grave was found in the Ukrainian town Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv.
Indian physical gold demand improved last week as prices dropped, Reuters reported. Though purchases in China, the world’s top consumer of the precious metal curbed by lockdowns related to a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus.
Ongoing uncertainty over the course of the pandemic and the new secondary omicron variant of the coronavirus — BA.2 — also continued to support gold. The subvariant has triggered surges of cases in Europe and other parts of the world and is now the dominant version of the virus both in the U.S. and around the globe.
Front-month silver futures decreased 3.8% last week to settle at $24.65 an ounce on Comex, after the May futures contract dropped 1.9% Friday. Silver gained 3.1% in March after surging 8.8% in February. It rose 7.6% in the first quarter after falling 12% in 2021. Silver prices are tied to industrial demand. The May contract is currently up $0.036 (+0.15%) to $24.690 and the DG spot price is $24.59.
Spot palladium slid 4.5% last week to $2,295.50 an ounce, though it edged up 0.1% Friday. It touched a record $3,440.76 in March. Russia produces about 40% of the world’s palladium, and Russia’s Nornickel is the world’s largest supplier of palladium. The metal dropped 8.5% in March after gaining 5.3% in February. It gained 20% in the first quarter and retreated 22% in 2021. Currently, the DG spot price is up $17.90 an ounce to $2,314.50.
Spot platinum decreased 1.6% last week to $992.30 an ounce after losing 0.9% Friday. The metal dropped 4.2% in March after advancing 1.7% in February. It increased 2.9% in the first quarter after dropping 9.4% last year. The DG spot price up $4.30 an ounce to $997.00.
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