Gold Gains After U.S. Unemployment Rises

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By Brendel Balaga

Gold futures edged higher on Thursday after newly published data revealed that the number of persons who filed for unemployment assistance in the United States (U.S.) last week increased at a rate more than previously projected.

The Department of Labor said the number of people filing for initial jobless benefits rose by 11,000 last week to 276,000. Analysts projected jobless claims to remain at 265,000.

Gold for June delivery on the Comex in New York gained $7.30, or 0.59%, to trade higher at $1,235.90 a troy ounce by 8:45AM ET.

Meanwhile, investors are eagerly anticipating the speeches of San Francisco Fed President John Williams, New York Fed President William Dudley and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans later in the day to get a broader view of opinions among policymakers on the possibility of additional rate hikes.

Analysts, on the other hand, are looking forward to Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. Many expect data to show jobs growth of 205,000 in March.

On Wednesday, the yellow metal rallied to a one-week peak of $1,246.80 as investors scaled back expectations for further interest rates this year.

Expectations for more interest rate hikes were subdued after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pointed out global risks to growth and inflation, hence the need to proceed “cautiously” on tightening policy.

Yellen’s comments were in direct contrast to recent statements by other Fed members, who hinted of more interest rate increases in the near term.

Also on metals trading, silver futures for May delivery rose 21.4 cents, or 1.41%, to trade higher at $15.44 a troy ounce in early New York trading, while copper futures declined 1.2 cents, or 0.55%, to trade lower at $2.178 a pound.

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