US job data push Gold to two-month low

By : Reuters
Last Updated: Sat, Nov 03, 2012 04:42 hrs
Women admire a gold necklace at a jewellery shop in Chandigarh

Gold prices fell to their lowest level since late August on Friday, sliding more than 1 per cent as the dollar jumped after better-than-expected US jobs data in the last major signal on the state of the economy before elections next Tuesday.

Spot gold was down 1.8 per cent at $1,684.36 at 1509 GMT, having earlier hit an eight-week low of $1,682.89. It is on track to post its biggest one-day fall since mid-June. US gold futures for December fell $29.90 an ounce to $1,685.60.

Payrolls data showed employers added 171,000 jobs in October versus forecasts of 125,000, while the jobless rate met expectations at 7.9 per cent. The dollar, having already hit a seven-week high in the run-up to the data, extended gains against the euro, helping push gold through key resistance levels.

"The dollar got a boost on the upside, and so gold saw some long liquidation and some stops were hit," said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS Finance. "Ahead of the US election the market will be nervous and undecided, so we should have volatile trading until Wednesday morning," he said.

In the longer term, a positive reading on jobs could weigh on gold if it trims expectations for monetary easing.

The US authorities have explicitly tied the extent of monetary stimulus measures - news of which sent gold above $1,795 an ounce in October - to the health of the jobs market. Looser monetary policy stokes longer-term inflationary fears and maintains pressure on interest rates, both good for gold. However, while the data was good, analysts say it is far from a level that would yet stoke fears of an imminent reversal of the Fed's commitment to easing.

"When you dig deeper into it, it's still not a robust number by any means," Charles Schwab fixed income strategist Kathy Jones said. "We're way short of where we need to be to bring down the unemployment rate to where the Fed would like to see, closer to 6 per cent than 8 per cent."

Platinum and palladium were still set to eke out their first weekly gains after three weeks of straight falls, although spot platinum fell 1.4 per cent to $1,542.49 and spot palladium fell 2.1 per cent to $597.90.

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