New York, US (BBN) – Gold prices edged higher in Asia on Tuesday with jobs data at the end of the week the lodestar for a widely expected Fed rate hike this month that will set the tone for the precious metal.
Comex gold futures rose 0.09 per cent to $1,226.55 a troy ounce, while silver futures for May delivery dipped 0.05 per cent to $17.803 a troy ounce, reports
Coppers futures were last quoted at $2.656 a pound.
Overnight, gold prices were higher during North American morning hours on Monday, kicking the week off with gains as a missile launch by North Korea was the latest event to add to concerns about rising geopolitical tensions.
Geopolitical tensions were in focus after North Korea fired four ballistic missiles early on Monday, three of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, an area extending about 230 miles out to sea from its coastline.
The move came just after Japanese media reported on Saturday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to visit Japan, South Korea and China this month to discuss North Korea on his first trip to the region since he took up his post.
The news bolstered demand for perceived safe-havens such as the yen and gold, while weighing on US Treasury yields.
US political developments also remained in focus after President Donald Trump on Saturday accused his predecessor Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the 2016 election campaign, an accusation rejected by Obama and a top former intelligence official, even as the White House urged Congress to investigate the allegation.
Gains were limited on increasing signs given by Federal Reserve officials that the US central bank is seriously considering raising interest rates this month.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday that it “would be appropriate” for the US central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate at its next meeting on March 14-15, should the US economy continue to show robust growth in terms of jobs and inflation.
In the week ahead, global financial markets will focus on the monthly US employment report due Friday, which could seal the deal for a Fed rate hike later this month.
Besides the employment report, this week’s calendar also features US data on factory orders, trade figures, ADP private sector nonfarm payrolls, weekly jobless claims and import prices.
Futures traders are pricing in around an 82 per cent chance of a hike at the Fed’s March 14-15 meeting, according to’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.
The precious metal is sensitive to moves in US rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.