Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — On Friday, gold bounced back from multi-week lows and the dollar slipped ahead of a key US jobs report as investors fret over increasing signs of a global slowdown.

Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,293.17 an ounce as of 10.58am GMT. Prices on Thursday hit a low of $1,280.91, which was a whisker away from a more than five-week low hit earlier this week. US gold futures gained 0.6% to $1,293.70.

“The expectation is for a slowdown [in the jobs data], and if that happens it is certainly a bullish signal for gold only because it is slightly bearish for the dollar. If the numbers are in line or worse than expected, gold could rally above $1,300,” said David Govett, head of precious metals at Marex Spectron.

“The market is also quite short at the moment, so we are seeing a bit of short covering on a Friday ahead of the non-farm payroll numbers from America.”

The dollar index was down 0.3%, having hit a near three-month peak in the previous session after the European Central Bank (ECB) postponed an interest rate hike until 2020, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies. Equities also stumbled after weak export data from China heightened market fears about a global economic slowdown, a day after the ECB slashed growth forecasts for the bloc. Investors are now focused on the US non-farm payroll data, due at 1.30pm GMT.

“We think gold prices are going to continue to go higher on the back of a weakening dollar,” said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah.  “Growth in the US is going to slow as the country has reached full employment and productivity is very high, so there isn’t much space for growth … And we are coming to an end of the US Federal Reserve’s rate cycle, which should weaken the dollar further.”

Investors also kept a close eye on trade talks between the US and China. US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the talks were moving along well and predicted either a “good deal” or no deal.

In other precious metals, palladium slipped 0.3% to $1,523.41 an ounce and was on track for its biggest weekly decline since the week ended November 23.

Silver gained 0.7% to $15.12, after slipping to its lowest since late December in the previous session. Platinum rose 0.8% to $819.45 an ounce, after touching its lowest since February 19 at $806.50 earlier. It was down about 4.4% so far this week, its biggest percentage decline since end-November.