Gold prices steady ahead of US payrolls data

BENGALURU: Gold prices were little changed on Friday as investors awaited key US jobs data due later in the day, while the dollar held steady after declining from 2018 highs hit earlier this week.

FUNDAMENTALS

Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $ 1,311.61 per ounce at 0113 GMT, and on track for a third consecutive weekly decline.

US gold futures for June delivery were flat at $ 1,312.50 per ounce.

The dollar index was little changed at 92.449, while Asian shares were steady on Friday.

The focus for markets will be on the US jobs data, with the April report likely to underscore labour market strength. According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 192,000 jobs in April after rising 103,000 in March.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday praised his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as officials from the world’s two largest economies began trade talks in Beijing, while state media said China would stand up to US bullying.

Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday US demands to change its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers were unacceptable as a deadline set by Trump for Europeans to “fix” the deal loomed.

SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.13 per cent to 865.60 tonnes on Thursday from 866.77 tonnes on Wednesday.

Gold demand posted its weakest start to the year in a decade, the World Gold Council said on Thursday, as prices of the metal stagnated and the threat of rising interest rates led investors to seek better returns elsewhere.

Indian gold demand may improve through to December as positive monsoon rains and government efforts to raise farmer incomes could boost rural purchases enough to offset higher prices because of the weak rupee, the World Gold Council (WGC) said.

South African gold producers agreed a 5 billion rand ($ 400 million) class action settlement on Thursday with law firms representing thousands of miners who contracted the fatal lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis, officials said on Thursday.

Mine operator Sibanye-Stillwater said five of 13 miners trapped underground in a South African gold mine were rescued but one of the five had died.