Gold falls on US jobs data –

GOLD prices have fallen after US payrolls data failed to allay uncertainty over the prospect of a near-term interest rate rise from the Federal Reserve.

DATA from the Labor Department on Friday showed that non-farm payrolls rose 173,000 last month, a slowdown from July’s upwardly revised gain of 245,000.

However, a drop in the unemployment rate to a near seven-and-a-half-year low and an acceleration in wages kept alive prospects of a Federal Reserve interest rate increase later this month. Spot gold was down 0.4 per cent at $US1,120.80 an ounce at 2.49 pm EDT (0449 Saturday AEST), while US gold futures for December delivery settled down 0.3 per cent at $US1,121.40. “Overall, I think the payrolls were erring on the better side, even though the headline number was weaker, because of the lower unemployment rate, the higher hourly earnings, and the upward revisions,” ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said.
A top Federal Reserve policymaker said the data on the US jobs market was “good” and did not change the outlook for monetary policy. Global equity markets tumbled and the US dollar was mixed after the data. Gold has come under pressure this year from expectations the Fed will raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade. The Fed has already indicated that the timing of a hike is largely data-dependent. The absence of Chinese buyers also weighed on gold, with markets in the major bullion consumer closed for public holidays. Monday will be a US holiday. Gold prices in India swung to a discount to the global benchmark this week for the first time since mid-July. “Although August bullion imports were high, demand in India appears to have stalled,” HSBC said in a note. Capital Economics noted that weddings and festivals are viewed as auspicious times to buy gold in India. “According to the Hindu calendar, the number of days … considered propitious to get married is 30 per cent lower in 2015 than in 2014,” it said. “Gold demand should recover in Q3 ahead of the big wedding and festival season in Q4.” In Australia, gold coin and minted bar sales at the Perth Mint dipped in August. Among other precious metals, silver was down 1.8 per cent at $US14.51 an ounce. Platinum was down 1.3 per cent at $US987.74 an ounce, while palladium gained 0.8 per cent at $US577.50 an ounce.