Gold up on big jobs miss this morning. Gold rose as much as 1% on Friday when the surprise slowdown in U.S. jobs growth in August was announced, raising the possibility that the Federal Reserve will go slow on its tapering plans. The metal was slightly higher throughout early morning trading, supported by declines in the dollar.
U.S. job growth slowed sharply in August amid a softening in demand for services and persistent worker shortages as COVID-19 infections soared, although the pace was enough to sustain the economic expansion. Nonfarm payroll growth over the past month increased by just 235,000 vs. the forecasted 720,000 rise, with leisure and hospitality jobs adding no jobs after leading the way for much of 2021. The unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, in line with estimates, while wages rose at a 4.3% year-over-year clip.
U.S. initial jobless claims fell to 340,000 last week, one of the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, according to weekly data released Thursday by the Labor Department. But the ADP employment report for last month came in below analysts’ expectations on Wednesday. Payrolls last month increased by just 374,000, much less than the 600,000 consensus estimate. The ADP report and the monthly Labor Department report have diverged significantly this year.
December gold futures fell 0.3% Thursday to settle at $1,811.50 an ounce on Comex. The precious metal was down 0.4% in the first four days of the week and rose just 90 cents in August. The yellow metal climbed $372 – or 24% – in 2020 because of uncertainty about the economy and the pandemic and is down 4.4% so far in 2021. Currently, the December contract is up $15.00 (+0.83%) an ounce to $1,826.50 and the DG spot price is $1,825.50.
Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, slipped 0.2% Thursday to 998.52 metric tons, the lowest level since April 2020, Reuters reported.
A change in the pace of the asset purchases — and any change in interest rates — would likely be bearish for gold, which become a more attractive investment when rates are low. But the yellow metal has become less attractive to some investors with riskier assets such as equities rising to records. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index reached all-time highs again Thursday.
December silver futures fell 1.3% Thursday, settling at $23.92 an ounce on Comex. The front-month contract decreased 0.8% in the first four days of the week. Silver lost 6% in August, its third consecutive monthly decline. The metal rose 47% in 2020 and is down 9.4% so far this year. Silver prices are tied to industrial demand, which could taper if lockdowns are reinstated and dampen manufacturing. The December contract is currently up $0.582 (+2.46%) to $24.500 an ounce and the DG spot price is $24.54.
Spot palladium slid 1.4% Thursday to $2,430.00 an ounce, but is up $2 so far this week. It fell 7% in August and is down 0.9% so far in 2021. Currently, the DG spot price is up $0.60 an ounce to $2,421.00
Spot platinum slipped 0.1% Thursday to $1,008.80 an ounce and retreated 0.9% in the first four days of this week. The metal dropped 3.1% in August and is down 6% in 2021. The DG spot price is currently up $4.70 an ounce to $1,009.90.
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