Gold loses sparkle after upbeat US payrolls report

3rd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Gold prices soared close to a record high this week, boosted by the precious metal's safe-haven status. But gold lost its shine after an upbeat US data softened fears about the global economic outlook.

Official data showed Friday that the American economy lost 54,000 jobs last month, a better figure than the 120,000 loss expected by economists, while the unemployment rate edged higher to 9.6 percent.

Elsewhere in commodities, oil prices rallied on the back of positive manufacturing data in China and the United States -- the world's two biggest consumers of oil.

"Industrial commodity prices remain largely in the sway of macro-economic data releases and associated sentiment," said Barclays Capital analyst Sudakshina Unnikrishnan.

"This week has seen a respite from recent selling pressure but sentiment remains fragile and vulnerable with lingering concerns on the health of an economic recovery."

PRECIOUS METALS: Gold climbed within a whisker of a record high on Wednesday, hitting 1,254.73 dollars an ounce -- the highest point since late June -- amid global economic jitters, before trimming gains on Friday.

"Gold is still on track for gains in the weeks to come," said analyst Rajesh Patel at trading firm Spread Co in London.

"After coming to within 11 dollars of the all-time high ... the strong non-farm payrolls number knocked it off its stride to the 1,240-dollar level."

The precious metal had forged a record 1,265.30 dollars per ounce on June 21, propelled partly by concerns over the poor economic climate.

By late Friday on the London Bullion Market, gold rose to 1,240.50 dollars an ounce from 1,235 dollars a week earlier.

Silver rallied to 19.66 dollars an ounce from 19.03 dollars.

On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum climbed to 1,553 dollars an ounce from 1,530 dollars.

Palladium leapt to 524 dollars an ounce from 503 dollars.

OIL: Crude oil prices drew strength from economic data, particularly in the United States.

Tamas Varga, analyst at PVM Oil Associates in London, told AFP that the US payrolls report report was "certainly positive" in the short-term for oil.

"Coupled with this week good manufacturing (data) from all over the world, it is bullish," added Varga.

"How long this sentiment is going to last is a different question.

"Generally, unemployment is still high on both sides of the Atlantic and the oil market seems to be well-supplied."

At the start of the week, oil had fallen sharply as traders fretted over the pace of the US economic recovery and growing fuel inventories.

However, prices rebounded on Wednesday in the wake of strong manufacturing data from around the world.

Crude rose further on Thursday after a fresh batch of better-than-expected US figures on housing, benefits and factory orders that suggested the outlook was not as bad as had been feared.

The market was also supported by hurricane concerns in the Gulf of Mexico, where many energy installations are based, and by news of an explosion on an oil rig in the region.

Analyst Rebecca Seabury, at British-based energy consultancy Inenco, said the market was reacting to the recent positive economic data -- but was also held back by high US crude inventories.

"As a result of the global recession, US stock levels of oil are close to record levels, which is placing a downward pressure on prices," she told AFP.

"Until we see some reduction in US stocks, this will limit the market's response to indications of economic recovery."

By late Friday on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for October soared to 77.24 dollars from 75.77 dollars the previous week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, Texas light sweet crude for delivery in October jumped to 75.07 dollars a barrel compared with 73.88 dollars.

BASE METALS: The prices of base or industrial metals rebounded sharply.

"Base metals ... are looking very strong indeed, especially copper and tin," said analyst Perrine Faye at metals information provider Fast Markets.

"After weeks of investors focusing on a potential slowdown in the US recovery, they are finally starting to acknowledge the fundamental picture -- physical demand is strong and supply is tight."

By late Friday on the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose to 7,697 dollars a tonne from 7,291 dollars.

Three-month aluminium advanced to 2,161 dollars a tonne from 2,013 dollars.

Three-month lead gained to 2,178 dollars a tonne from 2,034 dollars.

Three-month tin eased to 21,325 dollars a tonne from 21,360 dollars from a week earlier.

Three-month zinc climbed to 2,161 dollars a tonne from 2,055 dollars.

Three-month nickel increased to 20,900 dollars a tonne from 20,610 dollars.

GRAINS AND SOYA: Wheat prices rose amid poor growing conditions in key producer nations, and after Russia extended its grain export ban.

"Adverse weather conditions ... have affected production downgrades across Black Sea countries, Canada and more recently Pakistan," noted Barclays Capital analysts.

They also said that "an added layer of uncertainty has stemmed from recent grain market intervention by governments, with Russia this week announcing an extension to its grain export ban till the 2011 harvest ends."

On August 6, wheat had soared to 8.68 dollars a bushel (about 25 kilogrammes) -- the highest level for two years -- as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had banned Russian grain exports over a record drought.

By Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat for delivery in December rose to 7.33 dollars a bushel from 6.95 dollars the previous week.

Maize for December gained to 4.54 dollars a bushel from 4.36 dollars.

November-dated soyabean meal -- used in animal feed -- eased to 10.23 dollars a bushel from 10.26 dollars.

COFFEE: Coffee futures enjoyed mixed fortunes after striking a 13-year pinnacle last week in New York.

By Friday on the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), Arabica for December rose to 185.65 US cents a pound from 177.95 cents the previous week.

On LIFFE -- London's futures exchange -- Robusta for delivery in November fell to 1,630 dollars a tonne from 1,645 dollars.

COCOA: Cocoa touched one-year lows on Tuesday on concerns over the harvest from leading producer Ivory Coast, but rebounded sharply later in the week.

By Friday On NYBOT, the December cocoa contract jumped to 2,748 dollars a tonne from 2,710 dollars a week earlier.

On LIFFE, cocoa for delivery in December rose to 1,953 pounds a tonne from 1,939 pounds.

SUGAR: Sugar futures soared, briefly hitting a six-month high in New York on the back of ongoing supply-side concerns.

By Friday on NYBOT, the price of unrefined sugar for delivery in October increased to 20.85 US cents a pound from 19.44 cents a week earlier.

On LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for October rose to 590.70 pounds from 570.90 pounds.

© 2010 AFP

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