US jobs data hobbles gold price but bulls unwavered

Gold's new year comeback faced some headwinds on Friday after strong US employment figures saw the US dollar regain strength, but gold traders still see substantial upside for the metal  in 2017.

Gold for delivery in February, the most active contract on the Comex market in New York, was exchanging hands for $1,172.90 an ounce during lunchtime trade, not far off one month highs in another day of heavy trading.

The final quarter of 2016 was gold's worst performance in more than two years

Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential elections sparked a slide in the price of gold to 11-month lows as investors bet on higher interest rates and a stronger dollar on the back of fiscal stimulus in the world's largest economy. The final quarter of 2016 was gold's worst performance in more than two years.

But gold is up more than $50 an ounce since hitting a post-election low of $1,124 mid-December and according to a new survey by Bloomberg, gold traders are the most bullish in over a year predicting strong gains in 2017 following a 8.7% rise of the course of 2016:

“The euro zone has plenty of crisis triggers over coming months; Indian and Chinese buying remain strong and Trump’s policy threatens inflation,” said Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management in Annapolis, Maryland, which oversees $190 million. “All this is positive for gold.”