Gold slips as investors weigh Yellen’s comments, US jobs data

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US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen. (AFP)
US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen. (AFP)

Gold declined as investors weighed comments by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on interest rates against US jobs data which missed expectations.

Bullion ticked lower after Yellen said Sunday that President Joe Biden should push forward with his $4 trillion spending plans even if they trigger inflation that persists into next year, adding a “slightly higher” interest rate environment would be a “plus.”

On Friday, gold rose 1.1% as a Labour Department report showed job growth picked up in May, though the 559,000 payrolls gain fell short of economists’ expectations. The jobless rate dropped to 5.8%, while the labor participation rate was little changed.

Gold has been hovering around $1,900 an ounce amid a debate around price pressures and speculation over whether the Federal Reserve will start talks on the idea of tapering its massive bond-buying program, with traders looking to Thursday’s U.S. consumer-price index report for more clues. Policy makers should be “deliberately patient” and wait to see more evidence that the U.S. labor market has made more progress before they consider cutting down their asset-purchases, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said Friday.

“Gold prices pulled back slightly following Yellen’s comment about inflation and interest rates,” said Margaret Yang, a strategist at DailyFX. As a result, the 10-year Treasury yield rebounded, reflecting reflation hopes, she said. Real yields edged higher, denting the appeal of gold as the opportunity cost of holding it increased, Yang added.

Spot gold declined 0.4% to $1,883.36 an ounce at 7:07 a.m. in London. Prices climbed to $1,916.64 last week, the highest intraday level since Jan. 8. Silver and platinum fell, while palladium steadied. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index ticked up after dropping 0.5% on Friday.

The rand was last trading at R13.49/$.

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