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PRECIOUS-Gold steady near 5-week low ahead of U.S. jobs data

    March 9 Gold prices held steady early on
Thursday near a five-week low touched in the previous session,
pressured by an uptick in the dollar ahead of U.S. non-farm
payrolls data on Friday.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was flat at $1,207.46 per ounce at 0030
GMT. The metal hit its lowest since Feb. 1 at $1,206.05 in the
previous session.
    * U.S. gold futures         edged down $1.80 or 0.1 percent
to $1,207.60. The dollar index        was up 0.1 percent to
102.14. 
    * Investors are awaiting February non-farm payrolls data on
Friday as a barometer of the U.S. economy after Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen said last week the central bank was poised to
lift rates provided jobs and inflation data held up. Her
comments were seen as cementing plans for an increase at the
Fed's March 14-15 meeting.            
    * The ADP National Employment Report showed its biggest
increase in more than a year in February, suggesting the U.S.
economy remains on solid ground.             
    * The European Central Bank is set to keep monetary policy
on hold on Thursday as it casts a cautious eye ahead to
high-risk elections in the Netherlands and France during an
upsurge in populist, anti-establishment sentiment.             
    * Holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund
(ETF), New York's SPDR Gold Trust GLD, remained unchanged on
Tuesday from Monday.          
    * The biggest risk facing the world's top gold producers is
their reluctance to hunt for big new discoveries in emerging
markets, with most sticking to so called safe jurisdictions,
said the head of Randgold Resources Ltd         on Wednesday.
            
    * The Perth Mint's sales of gold products dipped in February
to the lowest in six months, while silver sales more than halved
from the previous month, the mint said in a blog post on its
website on Wednesday.             
    * Precious metals miner Hochschild Mining Plc          swung
to a pretax profit in 2016, helped by strong output at its
Inmaculada mine in Peru and a more favourable pricing
environment.             
    * Britain's economy is likely to feel the pain of Brexit
more sharply in the coming years despite holding up well so far,
according to finance minister Philip Hammond's latest plan to
steer the economy through its split from the European Union.
            
    
    DATA/EVENT AHEAD  (GMT)
    0130 China     Consumer prices                       Feb
    0130 China     Producer prices                       Feb
    1245 European Central Bank interest rate announcement
    1330 European Central Bank press conference
    1330 U.S.      Import prices                         Feb
    1330 U.S.      Export prices Feb
    1330 U.S.      Weekly jobless claims

 (Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Pullin)
  

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