Gold headed for a weekly gain before data on U.S. jobs and as China, which probably overtook India as the largest consumer in 2013, returned from the Lunar New Year break. Silver halted its longest rally since December.
Bullion for immediate delivery rose and fell at least 0.2 percent, before trading at $1,261.65 an ounce at 11:41 a.m. in Singapore from $1,258.20 yesterday. Gold is 1.4 percent higher this week, with the price reaching $1,274.74 on Feb. 5, the highest level since Jan. 27, as a rout in emerging markets boosted demand for haven assets. Silver fell 0.5 percent to $19.879 an ounce, snapping five days of gains and trimming its biggest weekly advance since August.
Data today may show U.S. employment growth accelerated last month from the slowest pace since January 2011, according to a Bloomberg survey. Claims for jobless benefits fell more than forecast last week, a Labor Department report showed yesterday, fueling speculation the Federal Reserve will further reduce stimulus. Volumes for the benchmark contract on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, which opened today after being shut since Jan. 31, rebounded from the least in more than two years on Jan. 30.
“Gold is flat in a relatively lackluster trading range ahead of the upcoming jobs report,” Howard Wen, an analyst at HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., wrote in a note today. “U.S. jobs data will provide the next important influence on bullion prices. The re-entry of China into the markets may buoy gold.”
Gold for April delivery added 0.3 percent to $1,260.50 an ounce on the Comex, up 1.7 percent this week for the biggest such advance in a month. The Fed said last week it will trim monthly bond buying by $10 billion after deciding in December to cut purchases by the same amount as the economy strengthened.
Spot platinum rose 0.5 percent to $1,382.88 an ounce, heading for the first weekly increase in three. Talks between the world’s three largest producers and the South African union to end a strike that began two weeks ago over wages adjourned Feb. 5 without a settlement. Palladium gained 0.4 percent to $713.39 an ounce, set to snap two weeks of losses.