Metals: Jobless Claims, Weaker Dollar Buoy Gold

By Ira Iosebashvili and Justin Yang Features Dow Jones Newswires

Gold prices rose Thursday, buoyed by higher jobless claims in the U.S.

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Gold for August delivery closed up 0.3%, at $1,249.40 a troy ounce, on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 241,000 in the week ended June 17, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast 240,000 new claims.

A spate of uneven data in recent months has convinced some investors that the Federal Reserve may need to take a go-slow approach to raising interest rates to preserve economic growth. Expectations of low rates tend to buoy gold, which struggles to compete with yield-bearing investments when borrowing costs rise.

A recent slide in oil prices has also increased concerns that the Fed's inflation outlook may be overly optimistic, said Peter Hug, global trading director at Kitco Metals.

"Consensus is growing that the Fed may hold off on the next rate hike until at least December," Mr. Hug wrote in a note to clients.

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The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, was recently 0.1% lower, at 88.83. A weaker dollar tends to support dollar-denominated commodities, including metals, as it makes them more affordable for holders of other currencies.

In base metals, copper for July delivery fell off 0.2%, to $2.6100 a pound.

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 22, 2017 15:45 ET (19:45 GMT)