Gold prices were higher during European morning hours on Monday, starting the week off with gains as demand for safe-haven assets was boosted amid news of North Korea’s firing of four ballistic missiles.
Comex Gold futures tacked on $6.95, or about 0.6%, to $1,233.45 a troy ounce . The precious metal fell to $1,223.00 on Friday, the lowest since February 15.
Spot gold was down $1.10 to $1,233.40 per ounce.
Market participants kept a wary eye on developments in North Korea, which fired four ballistic missiles early on Monday, three of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The news bolstered demand for perceived safe-havens such as the yen, U.S. Treasurys and gold.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 101.37 in London morning trade.
It reached a two-month high of 102.27 last week on increasing signs given by Federal Reserve officials that the U.S. central bank is seriously considering raising interest rates this month.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday that it “would be appropriate” for the U.S. central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate at its next meeting on March 14-15, should the U.S. economy continue to show robust growth in terms of jobs and inflation.
In the week ahead, global financial markets will focus on the monthly U.S. employment report due Friday, which could seal the deal for a Fed rate hike later this month.
Besides the employment report, this week’s calendar also features U.S. data on factory orders, trade figures, ADP private sector nonfarm payrolls, weekly jobless claims and import prices.
Futures traders are pricing in around an 82% chance of a hike at the Fed’s March 14-15 meeting, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.
The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.
Also on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery tacked on 12.2 cents, or 0.7%, to $17.86 a troy ounce.
Meanwhile, platinum was down 0.2% to $991.75, while palladium added 0.6% to $775.52 an ounce.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures lost 2.7 cents, or about 1%, to $2.669 a pound after China cut its economic growth forecast to around 6.5% in 2017, compared with last year’s goal of 6.5% to 7%.