LONDON (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Friday, shrugging off data showing rising U.S. job numbers, with analysts saying that an expected rise in interest rates had already been priced in.
U.S. employers boosted hiring in November, pushing down the the unemployment rate to a more than nine-year low of 4.6 percent and increasing the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month.
Bullion is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, which make the non-yielding asset less attractive while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.
“The data was a non-event for gold. The market is still thinking a December hike is very likely, which has already factored in, and that’s why gold is not really moving today,” said Natixis’ precious metals analyst, Bernard Dahdah.
In thin trade, spot gold rose by 0.3 percent to $1,174.88 an ounce by 1454 GMT. The metal fell to its lowest since Feb. 5 at $1,160.38 in the previous session and is on track to record a fourth straight week of losses.
U.S. gold futures gained 0.3 percent to $1,173.
Capital Economics commodities economist Simona Gambarini said that U.S. president-elect Donald Trump is uppermost in investors’ minds.
“Most investors are now looking at 2017 to see what’s going to happen with Trump, what policies he will implement and the inflationary impact of those policies,” Gambarini said.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, slipped by about 0.13 percent.
“With a rate rise in a couple of weeks almost certain, the dollar will remain firm and gold will remain pressured, although we could see a bit of book-squaring in the run-up,” said Marex Spectron’s head of precious metals, David Govett.
“This means some short-term dollar weakness, which may give gold a lift.”
Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, fell 1.54 percent to 870.22 tonnes on Thursday and fell more than 6 percent last month.
Silver dropped by 0.7 percent to $16.37 an ounce while platinum rose 0.8 percent to $918.
Palladium shed 1.7 percent to $737.78, having touched its highest since June 2015 at $774.60 in the previous session, but remained set for a fifth straight weekly gain.
Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman and Susan Thomas