Investing.com – Gold rose in early Asia on Friday in a rebound from overnight declines as investors mull the trajectory of Federal Reserve policy this year.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for February delivery rose 0.19% to $1,079.60 a troy ounce.
Silver futures for March delivery gained 0.04% to $13.850 a troy ounce, while copper futures were flat at $1.979 a pound.
Overnight, gold futures fell sharply on Thursday amid a moderately stronger dollar, as investors reacted to a slight increase in weekly U.S. jobless claims and a bounce among equities in China.
In overnight trading, the Shanghai Composite Index briefly fell to its lowest level since the start of this year’s rout in Chinese equities before rebounding to close at 3,007.65, up 2% on the session. The Shenzhen Composite Index, meanwhile, surged 3.81% to finish Thursday’s session at 1,859.371. Earlier on Thursday, a group of 28 small-cap listed companies helped stabilize the market by pledging not to sell shares for a period of at least six months.
Chinese stocks have plunged at the start of the year since the People’s Bank of China devalued the yuan by nearly 2% last week in an effort to stimulate its flagging economy by boosting exports. China is the world’s largest producer of gold and the second-largest consumer of the precious metal behind India.
Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending January 8 increased by 7,000 to 284,000 from the previous week’s total of 277,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to fall by 2,000 to 275,000 last week.
The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring the labor market and looking for signals of rising inflation, as it weighs when to approve its next interest rate hike. Last month, the Fed ended a near-decade long zero interest rate policy when it increased short-term interest rates for the first time since 2006. While analysts view a rate hike at the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting on Jan. 28 as unlikely, there is a higher probability that the FOMC could raise rates again when it meets in March.
Any rate hikes this year are regarded as bearish for gold, which struggles to compete with high-yield bearing assets in rising rate environments.
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