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Gold flat, retreats from 13-month high in volatile session
[NEW YORK] Gold prices were flat on Friday, late in a seesaw session that took prices to a 13-month high twice on technical and underlying investment demand, with a sharp drop in between due to forecast-beating US payrolls data.
In early trade, spot gold hit its highest in 13 months, and did so again later at US$1,279.60 an ounce. The precious metal has been driven up 19 per cent this year by economic concerns, which sparked volatility in equities and oil prices and boosted gold's appeal as a safe haven.
Strong investor interest continued to underpin gold prices even after the payrolls data. Spot gold was down 0.2 per cent at US$1,260.80 an ounce at 3:19 p.m. EST (2019 GMT), after falling 1.1 per cent to US$1,249.90.
US April gold futures settled up 1 per cent at $1,270.70 an ounce. "It started out with strong gains overnight, based on continued dollar weakness, but as we got closer to the jobs release, the market cautiously pared back," said James Steel, chief metals analyst for HSBC Securities in New York.
"That selling was absorbed very readily. Technically we turned out of the bear market last night."
Prices pared gains after Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said he expects solid growth in the US economy this year and does not expect the economy to fall into recession.
US Labor Department data that employment gains surged in February, the clearest sign yet of job market strength that could further ease fears the economy was heading into recession and add to the argument for the Fed raising interest rates.
"The data was all about the future Fed move and the data released has confirmed that the Fed are not off beat with their strategy," Ava Trade's chief market analyst Naeem Aslam said.
"Now the main focus will be toward the Fed's upcoming meeting in a few weeks' time, and how they are going to play with the growth revision forecast."
Investment interest has been driven by concerns over the global economy.
Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, rose nearly 5 tonnes on Thursday, data from the fund showed.
BlackRock Inc said it had suspended the issuing of shares in its physically backed gold exchange traded product due to a historic surge in buying.
Silver was up 1.7 per cent at US$15.49 an ounce, while platinum was up 2.9 per cent at US$977.25 an ounce and palladium was up 2.5 per cent at US$553.38 an ounce.