Gold futures - weekly outlook: February 8 - 12

New York (Feb 7)  Gold futures ended higher on Friday, following the release of a mixed U.S. employment report for January, with the rate of job creation slowing but wage growth accelerating.

Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled at $1,157.8 a troy ounce, up 20 cents from Thursday’s settlement of $1,157.6.

The precious metal was up 5.04% for the week and has gained 10.75% for the year to date.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that average hourly earnings rose 0.5% last month and were up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis.

The economy created 151,000 jobs last month, the lowest number since September and less than the 190,000 forecast by economists’.

Despite the slowdown in jobs growth the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, the lowest level since February 2008.

The pick-up in wage growth bolstered the outlook for inflation and increased the likelihood that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates this year.

The dollar index rose to 96.98 late Friday, off three-and-a-half month lows hit earlier in the session.

Higher interest rates make the dollar more attractive to yield-seeking investors. A stronger dollar tends to weigh on gold, which is denominated in the U.S. currency and becomes more expensive for many buyers when the dollar rises.

Gold’s gains since the start of the year have been underpinned by concerns over a slowdown in global growth, heightened market volatility and more recently by weakness in the dollar, all of which fueled increased safe-haven demand.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking to Wednesday’s testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Friday’s data on U.S. retail sales for further indications on the strength of the world’s largest economy.

Friday’s preliminary report on euro zone fourth quarter growth will also be closely watched amid heightened expectations for more easing by the European Central Bank in the coming months.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, February 8

Markets in China will be closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

In the euro zone, Germany is to release data on industrial production.

Canada is to publish a report on building permits.

Tuesday, February 9

Markets in China will remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Australia is to release private sector data on business confidence.

The U.S. is to produce a report on the trade balance.

Wednesday, February 10

Australia is to publish a report on consumer sentiment.

Markets in China will be closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The U.K. is to produce data on industrial production.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on the semiannual monetary policy report before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington.

Thursday, February 11

Markets in both Japan and China will be closed for holidays.

Canada is to release data on new house price inflation.

The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to testify on monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington.

Friday, February 12

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens is to speak in Sydney.

Markets in China will be closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The euro zone is to publish preliminary data on fourth quarter economic growth.

The U.S. is to round up the week with data on retail sales and consumer sentiment.