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MTECHTIPS:-Gold slips towards 5-1/2 year low after jobless claims report

MTECHTIPS:-Gold slips towards 5-1/2 year low after jobless claims report

Gold prices slipped back towards the lowest level in more than five years on Thursday, after data showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. rose less than expected last week, holding near the lowest level since November 1973. Gold futures for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped $1.30, or 0.12%, to trade at $1,084.30 a troy ounce during U.S. morning hours after hitting a session low of $1,082.70 overnight. A day earlier, gold shed $5.10, or 0.47%, to close at $1,085.60. Futures fell to a five-and-a-half year low of $1,072.30 on July 24. Gold prices lost $79.50, or 6.72%, in July, the biggest monthly decline since June 2013. The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits rose by 3,000 last week to 270,000. Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 273,000 last week from the previous week’s total of 267,000. First-time jobless claims have held below the 300,000-level for 22 consecutive weeks, which is usually associated with a firming labor market. Market players now looked ahead to Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, amid ongoing expectations for a September rate hike. The consensus forecast is that the data will show jobs growth of 223,000 last month, while the jobless rate is forecast to hold steady at 5.3%. Data on Wednesday showed that service sector activity in the U.S. grew at the fastest pace since August 2005 in July, while private sector employment data rose at the slowest pace in three months.
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