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Gold Tests $1,300 As Metal Poised for Small Weekly Gain

March 8, 2019 at 14:56 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are testing the crucial $1,300 threshold at the end of the trading week as the yellow metal is still on track to etch out a tiny weekly gain. Investors poured into the safe-haven asset on Friday, mainly due to the disappointing jobs report and the ocean of red ink across global stock indexes.

April gold futures rose $13.00, or 1.01%, to $1,299.10 per ounce at 13:12 GMT on Friday. The yellow metal is poised to record a weekly jump of 0.3%, bringing its year-to-date gains to just under 0.6%.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is rallying to finish another week of trading. May silver futures added $0.215, or 1.43%, to $15.255 an ounce. The white metal is also getting ready to report a tepid weekly boost of 0.2%. So far this year, silver prices are down more than 2%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US economy added just 20,000 new jobs in February, lowering the unemployment rate to 3.8%. This represents the smallest jobs gain since September 2017 and is way below the median estimates of 172,000 new jobs. For the past year, the US has been averaging roughly 200,000 new jobs per month.

The only sectors to experience the biggest gains were in professional and business services (42,000) and wholesale trade (10,900). Construction (31,000), mining (5,000), retail (6,100), and shipping (3,000) led the way with the largest declines. The rest of the other industries – utilities, education, and leisure – were flat.

Because of a tight labor market, companies are extending better compensation packages to either attract or retain workers. In February, the average hourly pay rose 11 cents to $27.66 per hour, which means pay has climbed 3.4% over the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, stock exchanges everywhere are cratering to complete the trading week. The Dow Jones plunged 200 points, the Nikkei shed 430 points, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 136 points, the Hang Seng dropped 550 points, and the DAX slid 100 points.

Precious metals were further lifted on a tumbling US dollar as the greenback plummeted 0.29% to 97.31. But the currency is on track for a weekly increase of 0.8%. A strong dollar is bad for commodities priced in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

In other metals markets, May copper futures was down $0.025, or 0.88%, to $2.885 per pound. May platinum futures edged up $0.80, or 0.1%, to $817.90 an ounce. May palladium futures fell $10.90, or 0.74%, to $1,471.50 an ounce.

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