Gold was slightly higher Friday morning in Asia, with a stronger dollar taking some of the luster from a recent rally in the yellow metal.
Gold futures were up 0.16% to $1,786.90 by 11:30 PM ET (3:20 AM GMT) and spot gold was also flat. The US Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies has been rallying over the past week and was mostly flat in the morning in Asia, down just 0.02% to 93.55.
Ongoing uncertainty caused by rising COVID-19 cases globally and the relentless spread of the Delta variant should be supportive for gold, which tends to rise in periods of uncertainty, but relatively positive economic figures out of the US have given the dollar a shot in the arm at the expense of gold.
The number of new unemployment benefits claims in the U.S. fell last week to a 17-month low, which suggests there will be another month of strong job growth. Counterbalancing this optimistic outlook, growth in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region slowed for the fourth month in a row in August, according to a survey out on Thursday.
The dollar has been pushed higher by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin easing stimulus this year, as minutes from its July meeting seemed to suggest. The market is now looking towards the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers on Aug. 26-28 for further clues as to the Fed’s direction.
Overall, the prospects for gold appear to be positive.
“Gold is certainly benefiting from its safe haven status,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told Reuters. “While markets are falling heavily, gold is back in demand.”
“In the medium-term, downside pressure will remain on gold but that won’t stop it reaping the benefits of the jitters.”
Brent oil futures and WTI oil futures were both marginally higher after big drops during U.S. and European trading sessions overnight.