Bullion for immediate delivery fell as much as 0.3 percent to $1,336.49 an ounce, and was at $1,337.61 at 7:52 a.m. in Singapore. Prices posted a fifth weekly gain last week, climbing to a four-month high of $1,354.87 on March 3, as tension between Ukraine and Russia escalated, boosting demand for a haven.
Bullion rose 11 percent this year even as the Fed, which next meets March 18-19, announced a $10 billion reduction to bond buying at each of its past two meetings, leaving purchases at $65 billion. U.S. employers added 175,000 workers last month, compared with 149,000 forecast in a Bloomberg survey.
“The better-than-expected payrolls data weighed on gold, but losses were limited by the political situation in Ukraine,” Sun Yonggang, a macroeconomic strategist at Everbright Futures Co., said from Shanghai. “Both ETF and CFTC positions suggest that investors are still willing to hold gold for now,” said Sun, referring to gold in exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, and bets tracked by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Last week, holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded products posted the first back-to-back weekly expansion since August, as pro-Russian forces advanced into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. Coutts & Co. said it’s adding gold for investors as increasing geopolitical risks spur haven demand.
Gold for April delivery traded at $1,337.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York from $1,338.20 on March 7, when futures sank 1 percent. Hedge funds and other speculators expanded bets on higher prices for a fourth week in New York futures and are now the most bullish since December 2012, government data show.
Silver for immediate delivery fell 0.6 percent to $20.822 an ounce after declining 2.5 percent on March 7 to cap a second weekly decline.
Platinum lost 0.3 percent to $1,477.94 an ounce after posting a fifth weekly rise, the longest run since August. Palladium fell 0.3 percent to $779.55 an ounce after climbing for a fifth week, the longest rally since 2012, on concern that supplies from Russia and South Africa, the biggest producers, may be disrupted.
South Africa, also the world’s largest platinum producer, won’t take sides in a wage strike that halted output for more than six weeks, President Jacob Zuma said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Glenys Sim in Singapore