MTECHTIPS;-Gold slips to five-week low despite dollar slump

MTECHTIPS;-Gold slips to five-week low despite dollar slump

MTECHTIPS- Gold prices slipped to a five-week low on Thursday, despite a slump in the dollar, as increasing expectations of a March Rate hike continued to soften demand for the yellow-metal. Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed $6.35 or 0.53%, to trade at $1,202.95 a troy ounce. Gold struggled to take advantage of a pull-back in the dollar, after initial jobless claims missed analysts’ forecasts while investors’ expectations of a March rate hike grew ahead of a key non-farm payrolls report due to be released on Friday. U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday, initial jobless claims increased by 20,000 to 243,000 in the week ending March 4 from the previous week’s total of 223,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise by 12,000 to 235,000 last week. The softer initial jobless claims data came a day ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls for February, viewed as a critical barometer of the U.S. economy and represents the final key economic data point ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on March 14-15. According to Investing.com’s Fed rate monitor tool, 90% of traders expect a rate hike in March, compared to just 80% of traders on Monday. Gold is sensitive to moves in U.S. interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced. Elsewhere, silver futures dropped 1.42% to $17.05 a troy ounce while copper traded lower at $2.658. Platinum traded at $937.80 down 1.23% while Natural Gas gained 1.69% to $2.95

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