Gold traded near a three-month high reached last week as the dollar weakened and speculation grew that U.S. interest rates will remain low after data released Friday showed U.S. jobs growth unexpectedly slowed in April.
Investors turned to the yellow metal as an alternative investment to both bonds and the dollar, which weakened to near a two-month low. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index also reached a record after the weak jobs data supported the case for ongoing stimulus measures.
Front-month gold futures rose 3.6% last week to $1,831.30 an ounce on Comex, as the July contract rallied 0.9% Friday. Futures advanced 3% in April after dropping in January, February and March. Gold climbed $372 — or 24% — in 2020 because of uncertainty about the economy and the pandemic. The June contract is up $13.30 an ounce to $1,844.60 and the DG spot price is $1,843.30.
Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.6% Friday, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, speculators boosted their bullish positions in Comex gold and silver contracts in the week ended May 4, according to the weekly Commitments of Traders report released Friday by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The April jobs report from the Labor Department showed that the unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, while nonfarm payrolls grew by 266,000, much less than the 1 million expected by analysts. The move was largely attributed to a shortage of available workers.
Investors widely saw the move as taking the pressure off the Federal Reserve to ease off on its accommodative monetary policy, which was put in place to help the economy recover during and after the pandemic. Low interest rates are typically bullish for gold.
The COVID-19 virus has killed more than 3.29 million people worldwide and sickened almost 158.3 million. About 21% of the cases — and 18% of the deaths — are in the U.S. The country has about 32.7 million cases, more than any other nation, though its proportion of both new cases and deaths has been declining as the vaccination effort becomes more widespread and other parts of the world have outbreaks. India, currently battling its second weave of infection, is the biggest hot spot.
Front-month silver futures gained 6.2% last week to settle at $27.48 an ounce on Comex. The July contract was unchanged Friday from a day earlier. Silver rose 5.5% in April after dropping in February and March. It increased 47% in 2020. The July contract is up $0.463 an ounce to $27.948 and the DG spot price is $27.79.
Spot palladium lost 0.7% last week to $2,945.00 an ounce and lost 0.4% Friday. The metal jumped 12% last month amid strong industrial demand. Palladium also rose in February and March. It rallied 26% in 2020. Currently, the DG spot price is up $63.40 an ounce to $3,004.50.
Spot platinum added 4.3% last week to $1,257.10 an ounce, though it dropped 0.3% Friday. Platinum increased 0.8% in April after trading flat in March. The autocatalyst metal rose 11% in 2020. The current DG spot price is up $18 an ounce to $1,274.50.
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