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Gold lifted by US payroll data

Turkish gold imports rise to 11.27 tonnes in January

Gulf News

New York: Gold rose in unison with equities and commodities on Friday, notching a weekly gain, after US nonfarm payrolls data showed modest job growth in January.

Bullion prices climbed after the Labour Department also said US job gains in the prior two months were bigger than initially reported, supporting views the economy’s sluggish recovery was on track despite a surprise contraction in output in the final three months of 2012.

Other data, showing improved US factory activity and better consumer confidence data, sent the Dow above 14,000 points for the first time since October 2007 and lifted gold and industrial commodities, led by crude oil.

The decent payrolls data and signs of a recovering US economy, however, have dampened gold’s investment case as a hedge against further monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve and its safe-haven appeal, an analyst said.

“As an investor, I really do struggle with gold because along with any other commodities, gold does not have a yield, so the actual investment case of holding it is shaky,” said Frances Hudson, global thematic strategist at Standard Life Investments, who helps manage its $247 billion in assets.

Spot gold was up 0.3 per cent at $1,668.54 an ounce by 2:54pm EST (1954 GMT), retreating from an earlier high of $1,681.70.

The metal briefly turned lower in a knee-jerk sell-off after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the US economy is on track for a better performance this year, which will put the central bank in a position to slow or halt its massive bond-buying program.

US gold futures for April delivery settled up $8.60 an ounce at $1,670.60, with trading volume in line with its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

Gold gained 0.6 per cent this week, offsetting some of the previous week’s 1.5 per cent loss. It was down slightly year to date, however, as signs of improvement in the US and euro zone economies boosted investor appetite for other assets.

Gold’s link to stocks and industrial commodities has been largely erratic over the past year.

Earlier this week, data showing a surprise shrinkage in the US economy in the fourth quarter boosted bullion prices while weighing down on equities.

Spot silver was up 1.7 per cent at $31.94 an ounce, as the more volatile metal outperformed gold.

Technicals, fundamentals

The market is digesting news that India’s central bank plans to introduce three to four gold-linked products in the next few months, in an effort to bring 20,000 tonnes of gold held in households into the banking system.

India is the largest importer of gold.

Meanwhile, Turkish gold imports rose to 11.27 tonnes in January from 2.96 tonnes a year before.

Among platinum group metals, platinum was up 0.5 per cent at $1,684.49 an ounce, while palladium was up 1.8 per cent at $753.47 an ounce.

CME Group, the largest US operator of futures exchanges, said it would add platinum and palladium options to its Globex electronic platform beginning in late February in a move to capitalize on growing investor interest in the metals.