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Gold Slumps to One-Year Low as US Job Market Remains Strong

August 3, 2018 at 13:39 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are tumbling at the end of the trading week as the yellow metal touches a one-year low. Gold prices are trading in positive territory on Friday, but if the precious metal dips into the red, then it will record its third consecutive loss.

December gold futures advanced $2.40, or 0.2%, to $1,222.50 per ounce at 13:07 GMT on Friday. Gold prices are trading at their lowest levels since July 2017 and are on track to post a weekly loss of 0.5%. Year-to-date, gold is down 8%.

The sister commodity to gold, silver, is looking to record a gain to complete the trading week. September silver futures rose $0.075, or 0.49%, to $15.46 per ounce. The white metal, which has plunged 10% so far this year, is also poised for a weekly drop of 0.3%

One of the causes for gold’s descent has been a booming US economy, and this continued on Friday after the government published the latest jobs numbers. According to the Department of Labor, the US economy added 157,000 jobs in July, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.9%.

Precious metals have been taking a beating in recent weeks thanks to a rallying US dollar. Although the greenback is down 0.1% to 95.08 on Friday, the buck has surged more than 3% year-to-date, and has reached a two-week high against a basket of currencies. A strengthening currency is bad for commodities pegged in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to buy.

Investors appear to not have an appetite for the metal commodity. The Bank of America noted this week that traders have sold about $400 million in gold over the past week. This coincides with US government data that found hedge funds and money managers are shorting gold in record numbers.

Gold came under further pressure after the Bank of England (BOE) raised interest rates to 0.75%, the highest level since the peak of the global financial crisis in 2009. The Bank of Canada (BOC) and the Federal Reserve are also expected to pull the trigger on rate hikes in September. The yellow metal is typically sensitive to a rising-rate environment because it lifts the opportunity cost and sends investors into yield-bearing assets.

Meanwhile, gold futures may find refuge in geopolitical tensions as China confirmed that it would retaliate to US tariffs. This has investors fearing that the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies will escalate throughout 2018.

In other metal markets, September copper futures rose $0.01, or 0.44%, to $2.7495 per pound. September platinum futures tacked on $7.60, or 0.92%, to $835.80 an ounce. September palladium futures increased $3.60, or 0.39%, to $911.90 per ounce.

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