Gold Stocks Slump on Strong US Jobs Data, Dampening Rate-Cut Hopes | ORBITAL AFFAIRS

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The Impact of Strong U.S. Employment Data on Gold Prices

Key Takeaways:

  • Gold prices slumped after U.S. employment data came in hotter than expected.
  • Bond yields rose and traders cut their bets that the Federal Reserve would make an early rate cut in September.
  • North American Gold ETFs saw net outflows in May, World Gold Council data shows.

The price of gold took a hit on Friday, falling more than 3%, after U.S. payrolls data came in stronger than expected. News of the labor market strength pushed back traders’ expectations of when the Federal Reserve could move to cut rates, sending bond yields higher and making them more attractive to investors.

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Large physical gold-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs) such as the $63.5 billion SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and the $28.9 billion iShares Gold Trust (IAU), mirrored the slide in gold prices and were down 3.6%.

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Shares in several gold mining companies also dropped, though to a larger degree. Barrick Gold (GOLD) stock fell more than 6%, shares in Newmont Corp. (NEM) fell more than 5% lower and Freeport McMoran (FCX) stock lost nearly 4%.

Strong Labor Market, Higher Rates Take The Sheen Off Gold

Gold suffered with continued strength in the U.S. labor market as traders bet the Federal Reserve would delay a first rate cut. Gold suffers from a higher interest rate environment because it is a non-yielding asset.

The prospect of higher-for-longer rates pushed up bond yields, with the 10-year Treasury yields rising above 4.4%, making them a better bet for investors.

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Net outflows from North American gold-exchange traded funds in May also illustrate investors setting their sights on other assets in search of better returns. According to World Gold Council (WGC) data, in effect investors pulled out $139 million from gold ETFs after two consecutive months of positive inflows.

Other Factors Affecting Gold Prices

Starting last year, gold prices have trended upwards thanks to purchases by central banks, especially China’s central bank, even as retail investors soured on ETFs. But that trend is showing signs of reversal.

Recent data suggests that China had paused its bullion purchases after 18 consecutive months of buying, adding to the bearish sentiment for the yellow metal. Central banks snapped up 1,037 tons of gold in 2023.

Appreciation in the U.S. dollar is another factor keeping investors at bay.

“The period following a dollar peak has historically been good for gold,” said the WGC in a recent commentary, adding that it assessed eight periods of the U.S. dollar’s contraction in history “where the average duration of these pullbacks was roughly 22 months, during which the US dollar fell 23% and gold rallied 52%, on average.”

In conclusion, the impact of strong U.S. employment data on gold prices has been significant, with prices slumping and investors turning to other assets such as bonds. The future trajectory of gold prices will likely be influenced by a combination of factors including interest rates, central bank purchases, and movements in the U.S. dollar. Investors will need to closely monitor these variables to make informed decisions regarding their gold investments.

Read the original article on Investopedia.

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