After Heavy Swings, Gold Settles Week Barely Changed

By Barani Krishnan – Gold swung almost $40 on the week — appearing headed for $1,800 at one point before returning to mid $1,700 levels — as an underwhelming U.S. jobs report for September and ramping bond yields combined to create volatility that did little ultimately for the yellow metal’s prices.

U.S. gold futures’ most active contract, December, settled Friday’s trade at $1,757.40 per ounce on New York’s Comex, down $1.80, or 0.1%.

For the week, it was $1 lower.

“It was kind of a rollercoaster that was not,” said Phillip Streible, precious metals strategist for Blueline Futures in Chicago. “The disappointment over the September jobs report sent gold flying but the yield-spike brought it back down to earth.”

“Unless it goes back above $1,800, this action isn’t a market that’s promising on the upside,” he added.

December gold jumped almost $25 in Friday’s early session after the Labor Department reported just a non-farm payrolls growth of just 194,000 for last month versus the 235,000 for August and well below the forecast of 500,000.

The weak jobs growth was a sign to some that the Federal Reserve might take much longer to put into action the much-anticipated taper of its pandemic-era monthly stimulus of $120 billion for the economy. That was a tonic to gold, which basically thrives as a hedge against inflation.

But, curiously, the Labor Department also reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.8% from the August level of 5.2%.

The drop in the jobless rate is important as it closes in on the Fed’s target of 4.0% for “full employment” — which central bank Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly used as a gauge for any monetary tightening to come.

The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note spiked to a June high of 1.615% on that. Higher yields typically hurt non-yielding gold.

“After digesting the (payrolls) report, (some) gold investors quickly realized that the taper announcement is still happening in November,” said Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA. “Pricing pressures are still elevated and that could still dictate higher interest rates next year.”

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