Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Gold held firm to start the week on Friday after upbeat U.S labor market data soothed immediate fears of a recession, but longer-term uncertainty about economic growth and concerns about the euro zone debt crisis supported demand for the precious metal.

Safe haven buying ignited by the downgrade of U.S. credit ratings by Standard Poor’s and persistent worries over the threat of contagion from the euro debt crisis led gold prices to new highs on Monday, a weekly report said.

Bullion continued its bull run on Tuesday and Wednesday, roaring to all-time highs for consecutive sessions towards USD 1,790 an ounce. However, gold eased on Thursday after the CME Group raised margins on COMEX gold futures.

Brent crude oil futures started the week rising almost 2 percent higher on Friday after three days of losses, supported by a stronger-than-expected gain in U.S. jobs for July and a pipeline fire in Iran.  

However, this rise was short lived and crude fell more than USD 2 a barrel on Monday after rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States’ top-tier credit rating, raising concerns on the outlook for demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer.  

Tuesday saw Brent crude plunging to a six-month trough below USD 99 a barrel in a two-session drop of more than USD 10, as U.S. rating downgrade intensified fears about a global slowdown in demand for energy.

U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to extend near-zero interest rates for two more years weighed on the dollar and helped reverse a steep slump in oil, leading Brent prices to rise above USD 100 on Wednesday.

BBN/SSR/AD-12Aug11-2:29 pm (BST)