Gold held onto Friday’s gain amid risk-off sentiment as investors weigh mixed labor data from the US, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the threat of the omicron variant.
Data Friday showed US job growth registered its smallest increase this year while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%, offering a mixed picture that may nevertheless push the Fed to quicken the wind-down of pandemic stimulus. It came after Chair Jerome Powell signaled faster tapering of asset purchases amid elevated inflation.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Group economists cut their forecasts for the US economy this year and next after deciding that the spread of the omicron strain of the coronavirus would exert a “modest downside” drag on growth. Moderna president Stephen Hoge said there’s a “real risk” that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective against omicron, while US medical adviser Anthony Fauci said the variant’s severity may be limited.
Bullion climbed Friday to pare a third straight weekly loss, the longest stretch since September, amid the prospects of less accommodative monetary policy and omicron risks. US consumer prices due this Friday are projected to show the largest annual advance in decades, keeping pressure on the Fed to deliver swifter tightening.
Spot gold was steady at $1 784.51 an ounce by 9:05 a.m. in Singapore after rising 0.8% Friday. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed. Silver, palladium and platinum advanced.