February 5, 2018 / 10:51 AM / 12 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold claws back lost ground after Friday's slide

    * Stock markets drop after upbeat U.S. payrolls data
    * Silver firms after biggest 1-day drop since Dec. 2016
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Releads, updates prices, adds comment)
    By Jan Harvey
    LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday, clawing back
some lost ground after recording its biggest one-day loss in two
months in the previous session as a sharp drop in stock markets
helped the metal rebound.
    Gold fell 1.2 percent on Friday after stronger than expected
U.S. payrolls data shored up expectations that a pick-up in
inflation will spur further U.S. interest rate hikes this year,
boosting the U.S. currency, in which it is priced. 
    The dollar steadied on Monday, while stock markets were
routed around the globe as resurgent U.S. inflation raised the
possibility central banks would tighten policy more aggressively
than had been expected.            
    Spot gold        was at $1,335.67 an ounce at 1246 GMT, up
0.2 percent but well below late January's 17-month high of
$1,366.07. U.S. gold futures         for April delivery were
$1.10 an ounce higher at $1,338.40.
    "It's undoubtedly the renewed weakness in stocks that we're
seeing into the afternoon (that is driving gold)," Saxo Bank's
head of commodity strategy, Ole Hansen, said. "The fact that,
after an attempt to move higher, we're seeing stocks once again
trading near the lows of the day is dictating moves elsewhere."
    "It seems gold is receiving safe-haven support."
    U.S. stock futures pointed to a weaker opening on Monday,
extending the rout equity markets experienced on Friday on the
back of rising bond yields and prospects for increasing
inflation.     
    While gold is often considered an inflation hedge, Julius
Baer said in a note, the fact that price pressures were being
driven by confidence about growth rather than dollar weakness
and rising oil prices meant it was failing to react positively.
    "'Good' inflation is a consequence of an improved growth
backdrop, leading to an increase in wages that pushes up prices
and services," it said. "As it should be accompanied by rising
interest rates, the inflation uncertainty appears limited.
Hence, gold's drop on Friday."
    Futures markets         reacted after the jobs data by
pricing in the risk of three, or even more, rate rises from the
Federal Reserve this year. 
    Meanwhile, hedge funds and money managers raised their net
long position in COMEX gold contracts in the week to Jan. 30 to
their highest level since late-September, U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.        
    Spot silver        was up 1.3 percent at $16.80 an ounce,
having earlier matched the previous session's five-week low of
$16.54. The metal fell 3.7 percent on Friday in its biggest
one-day decline since Dec. 2016. 
    Platinum        was up 0.2 percent at $988.24 an ounce,
while palladium       , which alone among the major precious
metals posted gains on Friday, was down 0.9 percent at $1,037.50
an ounce.

 (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru,
editing by Louise Heavens)
  
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