Gold firms as US jobs data raises doubts on aggressive rate hikes

Gold prices edged higher in early Asian hours on Monday after U.S. jobs data last week cast doubts over the labour market’s strength, prompting investors to be more sceptical of the Federal Reserve’s rate hike trajectory.


* Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,925.49 per ounce by 0104 GMT. U.S. gold futures were down 0.1% to $1,931.00 per ounce.

* The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday showed the U.S. economy added the smallest jobs in 2-1/2 years in June, while fewer jobs were created in April and May, indicating that higher borrowing costs were starting to dampen businesses’ appetite to continue boosting headcount.

* Higher rates also dampen the appeal of gold, which pays no interest.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said meetings with senior Chinese officials in recent days were “direct” and “productive”, helping stabilise the superpowers’ often rocky relationship as her four-day Beijing trip ended.

* As second-quarter earnings approach, investors are looking at beaten-down sectors which might gain ground regardless of whether the U.S. economy falls into recession this year.
* An increasing number of countries are repatriating gold reserves as protection against the sort of sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, according to an Invesco survey of central bank and sovereign wealth funds published on Monday.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.3% on Friday. [GOL/ETF]

* Data on Friday showed COMEX gold speculators raised net long position by 12,733 contracts to 99,205 in week ended July 3. [CFTC/]

* In other precious metals, spot silver gained 0.1% to $23.09, platinum added 0.4% to $911.40, and palladium climbed 0.2% to $1,246.86.

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