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Gold price moves higher on US jobs data letdown

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Gold prices moved higher on Friday as the market tried to gauge the potential impact of a weak US jobs report on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, as the new coronavirus variant continues to spark uncertainty in the economy.

Spot gold rose 0.7% to $1,781.60/oz by 12:15 p.m. ET, avoiding what would have been a third consecutive weekly loss. US gold futures were up by 1.0%, trading at $1,780.50/oz in New York.

[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 210,000 jobs were created during the month of November, well below economists’ expected job gains of around 535,000.

Bullion was already holding steady ahead of the jobs report, and has since pushed higher in initial reaction to the weaker-than-expected employment figures.

However, the US dollar had initially weakened after the data release before firming again, making the dollar-denominated precious metal more expensive for holders of other currencies.

The labor report also showed that wages grew less than expected last month, indicating that inflation could have been higher. Gold is traditionally viewed as a hedge against rising price levels.

The initial bounce in gold suggested “the market viewed the missed print as a signal that tapering may not be accelerated,” Standard Chartered analyst Suki Cooper told Reuters.

“But beyond that move, prices are still searching for a floor following the dip below the key $1,800 level,” Cooper added.

Edward Moya, senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA, said gold markets were now in a “wait-and-see approach” amid uncertainty over the omicron variant.

“It’s unclear whether or not you’re going to have a lot of investors go into the precious metal for safety, especially considering that the equity market has been fairly resilient,” Moya said.

(With files from Reuters)