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Gold hits 3-week low on firmer US dollar, US jobs data

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 21:20

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Gold fell to a three-week low on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger US dollar as investors began to assess the potential for another US rate hike later in the year, supported by data showing a strong US jobs market.

[LONDON] Gold fell to a three-week low on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger US dollar as investors began to assess the potential for another US rate hike later in the year, supported by data showing a strong US jobs market.

The losses in gold were limited, however, with bullion underpinned by a myriad of global uncertainties, including a report that US President Donald Trump was under investigation.

"Just like in previous rate hikes, the next day the market starts looking at the probability of the next hike because everything was factored in beforehand," Natixis metals analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a notch as expected on Wednesday and indicated further tightening before the end of the year.

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US data on Thursday bolstered the case for higher rates, as the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to shrinking labour market slack.

"If you just look at economics, there's chance of more downside. The Fed was talking about another potential rate hike later this year, which is negative for gold. But there's still enough for people to worry about in geopolitics at different levels," Mr Dahdah said.

Higher interest rates are negative for gold because they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold by forgoing the chance of earning interest on cash holdings.

Spot gold fell 0.7 per cent to US$1,251.67 per ounce by 1242 GMT, the weakest since May 24.

US gold futures for August delivery fell 1.2 per cent to US$1,260.60 an ounce.

The dollar index was up 0.5 per cent after the jobs data and following Wednesday's Fed meeting which lifted rates and also pointed the way to a trimming of the huge emergency funds pumped into the economy since 2009.

Gold got some support from safe haven buying after the Washington Post reported that Mr Trump was being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

As long as uneasiness around the Trump government among speculators and investors exists, gold will hold up pretty well, said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.

"Spot gold was also supported by short-term interest in physical gold in Asia, especially from Shanghai this morning," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said.

Among other precious metals, silver shed 1.2 per cent to US$16.67 per ounce after it settled higher on Wednesday, snapping a five-session losing streak.

Platinum dropped 1.6 per cent to US$920.40 per ounce and palladium shed 1.7 per cent to US$848.49 per ounce after rallying by 25 per cent so far this year.

"We're bullish on palladium compared to last year, but we think it has overshot," Mr Dahdah said.

REUTERS

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