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Gold Flat on US Jobs Numbers, Poised for Another Weekly Gain

January 5, 2018 at 17:06 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures have pared their morning losses and are now trading relatively flat following the modest December jobs report. The yellow metal is on track for its fourth consecutive weekly gain, kicking off 2018 with a commendable increase.

February gold futures dipped $0.70, or 0.05%, to $1,320.90 per ounce at 15:50 GMT on Friday. Gold prices are trading at their best levels since the middle of September, and are poised for a weekly advance of 1%. The precious metal climbed 14% in 2017.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is also trading flat to end the trading week. March silver futures rose $0.01, or 0.06%, to $17.28 an ounce. The white metal will record a weekly gain of 0.8%. Silver prices completed 2017 with an admirable 7% surge.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US economy added 148,000 jobs last month, the slowest pace in three months. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%. The labor report noted that there was modest wage growth, which could dampen market expectations for the Federal Reserve’s projections of three rate hikes this year.

This was supported by Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker who noted that he thinks there will only be two increases to interest rates in 2018.

The US dollar did benefit from the job numbers as the greenback jumped 0.15%. The US dollar is getting ready to post a weekly loss of 0.1%. A stronger greenback is bad for dollar-denominated commodities like gold and silver because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase. The US declined by nearly 10% last year, falling to pre-election lows.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM)’s non-manufacturing index slipped 1.5 points to 55.9% in December – anything above 50 suggests improving activity.

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