Gold prices held steady on Friday, as investors awaited the release of highly-anticipated U.S. employment data due later in the day, although recent data and ongoing political tensions in the U.S. continued to weigh on the greenback
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for August delivery were down steady at $1,268.66, very close to Tuesday’s seven-week highs of $1.273,30.
The August contract ended Thursday’s session 0.13% higher at $1,266.40 an ounce.
Futures were likely to find support at $1,256.60, Thursday’s low and resistance at $1,273.30, Tuesday’s high.
The dollar remained under pressure after the Institute for Supply Management on Thursday said its index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 53.9 from 57.4 in June. Economists had forecast a reading of 57.0.
A separate report showed that U.S. initial jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 240,000 last week, compared to expectations for a 3,000 fall to 242,000.
Investors were now looking ahead to the nonfarm payrolls report for July, due later Friday, to gauge whether the U.S. economy is strong enough for the Fed to stick to its planned tightening path.
The greenback has been under pressure recently amid worries over political turmoil in Washington and recent lackluster economic reports, which have raised doubts over whether the Federal Reserve will raise rates again this year.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.11% at 92.60, just off Wednesday’s 15-month low of 92.39.
Gold is sensitive to moves higher in both U.S. rates and the dollar. A weaker dollar makes gold less expensive for holders of foreign currency, while a rise in U.S. rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.
Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for September delivery gained 0.54% to $16.724 a troy ounce, while copper futures for September delivery advanced 0.42% to $2.890 a pound.
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