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Gold Falls on Resilient US Jobs Report, Poised for Small Weekly Gain

October 4, 2019 at 13:00 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are slumping at the end of the trading week after the US government reported a healthy jobs report. The yellow metal had been gaining on global economic fears, but the resilient labor market in the world’s largest economy did diminish some of that concern. Gold is still on track for a tepid weekly gain.

December gold futures shed $3.80, or 0.25%, to $1,510.00 per ounce at 12:49 GMT on Friday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold is poised for a weekly jump of 0.2%, despite starting off the trading week crashing below the crucial $1,500 threshold. Year-to-date, the yellow metal is up 17.25%.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is deep in the red on Friday. December silver futures tumbled $0.15, or 0.85%, to $17.52 an ounce. The white metal will record a weekly loss of about 0.3%. So far on the year, silver prices have advanced more than 12%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 136,000 new jobs last month, up from 130,000 in August. Although it was lower than the median estimate of 145,000 new jobs, the upside was that the unemployment rate slipped 0.2% to a 50-year low of 3.5%.

The labor report also highlighted that average hourly earnings slipped to a 12-month rate of 2.9%, average weekly hours were unchanged at 34.4 hours, and the labor force participation rate was flat at 63.2%.

The manufacturing sector eliminated 2,000 jobs and retail shed 11,000 positions. But education and health care added 40,000 new workers, while government filled 22,000 posts.

It is unclear if this will push the Federal Reserve to pull the trigger on another cut to interest rates at this month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting. Investors believe that a quarter-point rate cut is expected, but that may have more to do with the slumping manufacturing sector that impacts the domestic and global economies.

Meanwhile, investors have been pouring into gold as a haven from trade uncertainty. This week, the US government slapped 25% tariffs on Italian cheese, Scotch whiskey, French wine, and thousands of other European good products. Trade groups are already sounding the alarm that this will cost American jobs and lead to higher prices ahead of the holiday season.

The US Dollar Index jumped 0.11% to 98.97, from an opening of 98.87. A stronger buck is bad for dollar-denominated commodities because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

In other metal markets, November copper futures dipped $0.02, or 0.7%, to $2.535 per pound. November platinum futures fell $12.70, or 1.42%, to $881.70 per ounce. November palladium futures tacked on $5.80, or 0.36%, to $1,636.00 an ounce.

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