Gold remains lower after robust US jobs data

New York (Oct 1)  Gold prices were trading at the lowest levels in more than two weeks on Thursday after data pointing to strong gains in U.S. private sector jobs growth last month underlined expectations for higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down 0.22% to $1,112.7 an ounce, the weakest since September 16.

Gold prices fell after a report from payrolls processor ADP on Wednesday showed that the U.S. private sector added 200,000 jobs in September.

The upbeat data indicated that the recovery in the labor market is continuing to gain momentum.

Investors were turning their attention to Friday’s U.S. jobs report for September, which could help to provide clarity on the Fed’s plans to hike short-term interest rates for the first time since 2006.

Gold prices have been hit in recent weeks by uncertainty over how soon the U.S. central bank will start to tighten monetary policy.

The Fed held off from raising rates at its September meeting amid concerns over the outlook for global growth. However, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has since indicated that the bank remains on track for a rate lift-off this year.

Gold would benefit from any delay in raising U.S. interest rates as the precious metal would struggle to compete with yield-bearing assets. Higher rates would also boost the dollar, which would make dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Elsewhere in metals trading, U.S. platinum futures for January delivery eased up 0.56% to $914.2 an ounce.

Platinum prices fell to six-and-a-half year lows on earlier in the week amid concerns that the Volkswagen (XETRA:VOWG) emissions scandal would curb demand for the precious metal, which is widely used in car exhaust filters of diesel-powered vehicles.

U.S. silver futures for December delivery rose 0.25% to $14.55 while copper for December delivery was up 0.91% to $2.364 a pound.