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Gold Futures Poised for Weekly Gain on Weaker-Than-Expected US Jobs Report

November 3, 2017 at 12:54 by Andrew Moran

Gold prices are making modest gains on the final trading day of the week, and the yellow metal is on track for a weekly gain. Investors are combing through the weaker-than-expected US jobs report that was released on Friday, which could help gold post solid gains.

December gold futures rose $0.30, or 0.02%, to $1,278.40 per ounce at 12:44 GMT on Friday. With gold advancing four of the last five trading sessions, the precious metal is poised for a 0.2% weekly gain.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is also in the green to finish the trading week. December silver futures jumped $0.03, or 0.19%, to $17.17 an ounce. The white metal is also set to record a weekly gain of nearly 3%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US economy added 261,000 jobs in October, down from initial projections of 310,000. Last month, 33,000 jobs were lost in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The unemployment fell to 4.1% and the gross domestic product (GDP) climbed by 3%.

This will give the Federal Reserve further ammunition to pull the trigger on one more rate hike in 2017. The US central bank is widely expected to meet its goal of raising interest rates three times this year at next month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting.

Gold is generally sensitive to a rising-rate environment because it lifts the opportunity cost and sends investors into yield-bearing assets.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump nominated Fed Governor Jerome Powell to lead the central bank once Janet Yellen’s current term expires. Powell is considered by market experts as a “Yellen Republican” and is largely anticipated to stay the course for much of his first term.

Powell said in a statement on the White House lawn:

In the years since the global financial crisis ended, our economy has made substantial progress toward full recovery. By many measures we are close to full employment, and inflation has gradually moved up toward our target.

Inside the Federal Reserve, we understand that monetary policy decisions matter for American families and communities. I strongly share that sense of mission and am committed to making decisions with objectivity, based on available evidence and in the longstanding tradition of monetary policy independence.

House Republicans also revealed key details of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, an important part of the president’s tax reform promise. Despite the bill giving the US dollar a boost, the greenback slid 0.19% on Friday after the labor numbers. A weaker US dollar is good for dollar-denominated commodities like gold and silver because it makes it cheaper for foreign investors to purchase.

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