Gold futures finished with a modest loss on Friday as better-than-expected U.S. employment figures dulled the precious metal’s safe-haven appeal.
For the week, however, gold found support from the European Central Bank’s decision to cut interest rates and from strength in physical demand to end the week 0.7% higher.
Copper futures rallied nearly 7% for their biggest one-day percent gain in over two and a half years, as the jobs data brightened demand prospects for the industrial metal.
The July silver contract SIN3 +0.65% climbed 18 cents, or 0.8%, to end at $24.01 an ounce, up 1% from a week ago.
The U.S. economy created a net 165,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department said Friday. The number surpassed the 135,000 forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch. The acceleration in hiring nudged the unemployment rate down to 7.5%, the lowest level since December 2008.
Right before the data’s release, gold prices were trading around $13 an ounce higher than Thursday’s close, then after the data they fell to trade around $10 lower.
If hiring continues to rise at the current pace for the next two to three months, that would be “bearish for safe havens like gold and silver,” said Chintan Karnani, an independent bullion analyst based in New Delhi.
U.S. jobs picture picks up steam
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.5% in April, as the jobs picture continued to improve. Rolfe Winkler, Phil Izzo and Sudeep Reddy look at the numbers and the economic outlook.
Only the interest-rate cut by the European Central Bank and firm physical gold demand in Asia are supporting gold prices, he said.
Bullion dealers reported impressive jumps in April gold bullion sales.
Will Rhind, managing director of ETF Securities, a provider of physically backed precious-metal ETFs including the ETFS Gold Trust SGOL +0.16% , said “demand is mainly being seen by coin/bar merchants and gold dealers (bullion banks) that act on behalf of central banks and other large institutional physical players.”
Copper for delivery in July HGN3 -0.38% jumped 21 cents, or 6.8%, to a three-week high of $3.315 a pound. It rose roughly 4% for the week.
Friday’s percentage gain was the largest since at least October 2011, according to FactSet data.