Gold Price Hits Highest Level Since Feb. After Nonfarm Payrolls Disappoints

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE AND WEEK IN REVIEW VIDEO

EARLIER UPDATE 13.00 GMT

The US Dollar Gold Price rose to its highest level since February on Friday, hitting $1728 per ounce on spot markets following the publication of worse-than-expected US nonfarm payroll data.

Silver Prices jumped to $33.46 an ounce - their highest level since mid-March.

The US economy added 96,000 non agricultural private sector jobs last month, according to the official report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Before the release, the consensus forecast among analysts was for around 125,000 to 130,000 jobs, while a day earlier the privately-produced ADP Employment Report exceeded expectations.

In Friday's official report, the BLS revised lower its estimates for the number of jobs added in June and July. The unemployment rate meantime recorded a fall in August, from 8.3% a month earlier to 8.1%, the report said.

"Quite dismal employment report confirming anemic US economic growth," said NYU professor Nouriel Roubini on the social networking website Twitter.

"QE3 is only a matter of when not whether, most likely in December," he added, referring to a potential third round of quantitative easing from the US Federal Reserve.

EARLIER REPORT 11.30 GMT

Wholesale market prices for Buying Gold climbed to $1698 per ounce Friday morning in London, in line with where they started the week, while stock markets also rose, following yesterday's announcement of the European Central Bank's bond market intervention plan.

US Treasuries fell, while commodities were broadly flat, with the exception copper, which posted gains. Copper traders are now more bullish than at any time since last October, according to a survey by newswire Bloomberg, which sites "mounting speculation" about central bank stimulus measures, such as a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) from the Federal Reserve.

A day earlier, gold hit its highest level in six months at $1713 per ounce Thursday, although it fell following the publication of a stronger-than-expected ADP Employment Report, a precursor to today's official August nonfarm payrolls release.

"There is definitely long liquidation going on after the ADP number," says one trader in Singapore.

"People spent the whole of yesterday Buying Gold and it is a bit overcooked up here. Now we have good data and the market is struggling to see how it can get a bad [nonfarm] payrolls data."

"The consensus expectation for today's nonfarm payrolls is 130,000 [jobs added in August]," says a note from Rabobank this morning, "although in reality it may [now] have been revised upwards...the final clues for today's nonfarm payrolls were positive, at least for the economic recovery, not for the chances of QE3."

Prices to Buy Silver meantime climbed to $32.40 per ounce this morning – on course for a 2% weekly gain – while on the currency markets, the Euro rose to its highest level in more than two months, a day after ECB president Mario Draghi announced the new Outright Monetary Transactions program, aimed at tackling the Eurozone crisis by buying distressed Eurozone sovereign bonds.

"OMTs will enable us to address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the Euro," Draghi told Thursday's press conference.

There will be "no ex-ante limits" on the size of OMTs, Draghi added. 

"This is your bazooka," Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development chief Jose Angel Gurria told the Financial Times yesterday, having used that phrase earlier in the week when urging the ECB to act.

OMTs will target debt of up to three years in maturity, Draghi said, and will also be fully sterilized – meaning the ECB will sell other securities to absorb the liquidity created.

In addition, OMT purchases will be subject to conditionality, meaning governments would have to enter into some form of bailout program with at least the possibility of bond purchases by the European Financial Stability Facility, or its scheduled permanent successor the European Stability Mechanism. Governments that fail to fulfill their bailout commitments could face a withdrawal of ECB support. 

Benchmark 10-Year Spanish bond yields fell to their lowest level since April this morning, dipping below 5.7% – two percentage points below their high in July. Italian 10-Year yields hit a six-month low at just over 5%.

Neither Italy nor Spain has formally requested a bailout, although Spain's government agreed a €100 billion credit line in June to finance the restructuring of its banking sector.

Germany's Constitutional Court is due to rule next Wednesday on whether or not the creation of the ESM is at odds with German law.

"Investors still view gold as a non-paper currency and I don't think anything the ECB said or did yesterday has changed people's psyche," says Simon Weeks, head of precious metals at Scotia Mocatta.

"Really they just kicked the can down the road." 

In Switzerland meantime, the central bank may be considering a de facto devaluation of the Swiss Franc, moving its price floor for the Euro-Franc exchange rate from SFr1.20 to SFr1.30, FT Alphaville reports.

Over in China, the world's second-biggest Gold Buying nation behind India last year, Beijing has approved 1 trillion Yuan worth of infrastructure spending, equivalent to around $158 billion.

"With clear signs of a worsening slowdown of economic growth, China's central government has finally taken real actions," says Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Lu Ting.

"They are clearly stepping up the infrastructure investment push to help boost confidence and revive growth," adds Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong.

"We believe the decision for the Chinese government to intensively announce these projects over the past two days signals a significant change in its policy stance from the incremental and reactive approach to a more decisive and proactive approach."

In November 2008, China announced a 4 trillion Yuan stimulus package as a response to the global financial crisis.

The deputy governor of India's central bank meantime has again cautioned Indians against Buying Gold, following comments he made in July.

"Because interest rates are very low, people are investing in gold," said KC Chakrabarty on Friday.

"But the poor should never invest in gold for whenever they have purchased gold, it either lands up in the temple or in the hands of the moneylender or, at the most, it may be given away during a daughter's marriage."

Earlier this week, key figures in India's bullion industry expressed fears that gold import duties may be hiked for the third time this year.

Buying Gold?...

Buy gold at the lowest prices in the safest vaults today...

The London Gold Market Report is the daily market review from BullionVault, the world's largest physical gold and silver market for private investors. A full member of professional trade body the London Bullion Market Association, BullionVault publishes the LGMR every day that the market is open, bringing you insider comment and analysis from the very center of the world's $240 billion-a-day physical gold trade, and putting the latest gold price action into its wider financial and economic context

See full archive of the London Gold Market Report.

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News, RSS links are shown there.