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Gold Hits Lowest Since January

The metal hit a low of $1,194.55 an ounce on Friday.The metal hit a low of $1,194.55 an ounce on Friday.

Growing expectations that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month following a better than expected Automatic Data Processing payrolls report have pushed gold down 3% this week, potentially its biggest weekly loss in four months.

The metal hit a low of $1,194.55 an ounce on Friday, after slipping below $1,200 an ounce in the previous session for the first time since Jan. 31. Spot gold was down 0.38% at $1,196.19 an ounce, while US gold futures for April delivery were down $6.8 an ounce at $1,196.40, Reuters reported.

“We had a really quite phenomenal number in the ADP payrolls and when you get such a big move in private payrolls, it would be highly surprising if the official numbers moved lower,” Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.

A Reuters survey of economists predicted that non-farm payrolls probably rose by 190,000 jobs last month. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week the central bank was poised to lift rates provided jobs and inflation data held up, comments seen as cementing plans for an increase at the Fed’s March 14-15 meeting.

“If we see a very good payroll number today and also hawkish comments from the Fed next week, we could break out of this longer-term downtrend in fixed income, in the 10-year yield and that is going to change the game as far as real rates are concerned,” Butler said.

“That is going to have a negative impact on gold.” Pointing to softening investor appetite, holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell 2.7 tons on Thursday, bringing the total outflow for the week so far to 6.5 tons.

Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.41% at 16.88 per ounce, after hitting its lowest since Jan. 27 at $16.78. Palladium was down 0.37% at $744 per ounce. Platinum was up 0.58% on Friday at $937.7, bucking the bearish trend among precious metals. However, platinum has already fallen nearly 6% this week, having earlier touched its lowest since Jan. 4 at $928.5.

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