Gold futures shot up on Friday after data revealed the U.S. economy added far fewer payrolls in December than expected, which fanned expectations for the Federal Reserve to scale down its bond-buying program at a slower pace than once anticipated.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery traded at USD1,243.70 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, up 1.16%, up from a session low of USD1,226.90 and off a high of 1,247.40.
The February contract settled up 0.32% at USD1,229.40.
Futures were likely to find support at USD1,217.80 a troy ounce, Wednesday''s low, and resistance at USD1,247.70, Monday''s high.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier that the U.S. economy added 74,000 jobs in December, well below expectations for a 196,000 increase and below an upwardly revised 241,000 rise the previous month.
The U.S. private sector added 87,000 jobs last month, disappointing expectations for 195,000 rise, after an upwardly increase of 226,000 in November.
The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in December due to a weak participation rate, down from 7.0% in November. Analysts had expected the rate to remain unchanged last month.
The numbers weakened the dollar by fueling expectations for the Federal Reserve to trim its USD75 billion monthly bond-buying program at a slower pace than once expected.
Fed asset purchases tend to weaken the dollar by suppressing long-term interest rates, thus making gold an attractive hedge as long as monetary stimulus programs remain in place.
Meanwhile, silver for March delivery was up 2.12% and trading at USD20.100 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery were up 1.18% and trading at USD3.338 a pound.
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