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Gold Edges Down After U.S. Jobs Report

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11/03/2017 | 03:13pm CET
By Amrith Ramkumar and David Hodari 

Gold prices swung between small gains and losses Friday after the latest jobs report was mixed.

Futures for December delivery recently were less than 0.1% at $1,278.20 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling 0.2% before the jobs report.

Although the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in October and wage growth slowed, revisions showed the labor market weathered hurricane damage better than previously estimated.

The report is unlikely to change the Federal Reserve's plans to raise interest rates again in December, meaning the outlook for gold was also largely unchanged, said Tai Wong, head of metals trading at BMO Capital Markets. He said he expected gold to continue reacting to moves in other assets such as the dollar, which makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive to foreign buyers when it rises.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, pared earlier losses and was recently down less than 0.1%. Mr. Wong noted the market also was still digesting President Donald Trump's nomination of Jerome Powell as the next Fed chair and the Republican tax plan along with the jobs report.

"Unless there's a big move in the broader markets, I'm not seeing a big day in gold ahead of us," he said.

The dollar rebounding in recent weeks and concerns about the Fed's plans to raise rates gradually moving forward have gold trading roughly 5.6% off its year-to-date high from early September. The precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates rise. Still, for the year, gold prices are up about 10% and have gotten a boost from geopolitical uncertainty.

Among base metals, copper for December delivery fell less than 0.1% to $3.1415 a pound. Like gold, the industrial metal has largely traded sideways in recent sessions. Still, it sits near three-year highs, boosted by a positive global economic backdrop, strong demand from China -- the world's largest copper consumer -- and the prospect electric vehicles will stoke demand for base metals moving forward.

Write to Amrith Ramkumar at [email protected] and David Hodari at [email protected]

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