Investing.com - Gold futures fell to a one-week low on Friday, after better than expected U.S. nonfarm payrolls data underlined the view that the Federal Reserve will maintain the current pace of reductions to its stimulus program.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery dropped to a session low of $1,326.60 a troy ounce, the least since February 28, before trimming losses to settle at $1,338.20, down 1.01%, or $13.60 an ounce.
Gold futures were likely to find support at $1,319.30 a troy ounce, the low from February 28 and resistance at $1,355.00, the high from March 3.
Despite Friday’s losses, Comex gold prices ended with a 1.24% weekly gain, or $16.60, thanks to advances made earlier in the week on the back of heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S. over Russia''s involvement in Ukraine''s political crisis.
Meanwhile, silver for May delivery plunged to a daily low of $20.75 a troy ounce, the weakest since February 14, before coming off the lows to settle at $20.92, down 2.99%, or $0.30 cents.
The May silver futures contract lost 1.5% on the week, or $0.32 cents, the second consecutive weekly decline.
Gold and silver prices came under heavy selling pressure after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, well above expectations for 149,000 new jobs.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7% from 6.6% in January, as more people joined the workforce.
The upbeat jobs report indicated that the Fed is likely to continue to scale back its stimulus program, which has burnished the appeal of the precious metal in recent years.
In the week ahead, investors will be anticipating what will be closely-watched data on retail sales and consumer sentiment for further indications of the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending March 4.
Net longs totaled 118,241 contracts, up 3.65% from net longs of 113,911 in the preceding week.
The CFTC data also showed that net silver longs totaled 23,314 contracts as of last week, compared to net longs of 25,091 in the preceding week.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper for May delivery tumbled 4.21% on Friday to settle at $3.082 a pound, the lowest since July 31.
Comex copper prices lost 3.29% on the week as concerns over Chinese bond defaults underlined worries over the health of the Asian nation’s economy.
Data released over the weekend showed that Chinese exports collapsed 18.1% in February from a year earlier, disappointing expectations for a 6.8% increase. Imports rose 10.1%, compared to forecasts for an 8% increase.
The significant decline in China’s exports led to a deficit of $22.98 billion last month, compared to a surplus of $31.86 billion in January. Analysts had expected a surplus of $14.5 billion in February.
A separate report showed that consumer price inflation in China rose 2% in February from a year earlier, in line with expectations, while producer price inflation declined 2%, compared to forecasts for a 1.9% drop.
The downbeat data highlighted concerns about slowing growth in the world''s biggest consumer of the industrial metal.
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