Gold Steady After Sharp Losses
New York (Feb 9) Gold prices are unchanged on Monday, as the metal is trading at a spot price of $1241.02. In the US, it’s a quiet start to the week, with just one indicator on the schedule – the Labor Market Conditions Index.
Gold dropped 2.4% on Friday, as US Nonfarm Payrolls improved to 257 thousand in January, up from 252 thousand a month earlier. This easily beat the estimate of 236 thousand. The strong reading has reinforced expectations for a mid-year interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, which would be a boost for the US dollar.
The Greek government suffered a setback on Friday, as the Standard and Poor’s rating agency downgraded Greece’s debt from B to B-, which is just one level above default. S&P also kept the outlook as “negative”, which indicates that further cuts are possible. This follows the ECB announcement that it will no longer accept Greek government bonds as collateral for ECB loans as of February 11. For its part, Greece has pledged not renew the bailout program, which will expire at the end February. There will likely be more developments during the week in Brussels, as EU finance ministers meet on Wednesday, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attend an EU meeting on Thursday.