Gold futures moved lower Thursday, failing to find support even with the dollar steady and bonds yields edging down, as investors look to August U.S. employment data due Friday to determine the path forward for the Federal Reserve and bullion.

Prices for the yellow metal have been “very much lifeless for the past few days as traders aren’t willing to pit big bets ahead” of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, told MarketWatch.

The data is going to “lay the foundation” for the Federal Reserve meeting later this month, which is “highly anticipated to indicate that the Fed may tighten its liquidity bell,” he said.  

December gold

 fell by $7.80, or 0.4%, to trade at $1,808230 an ounce, following a decline of 0.1% on Wednesday. Prices trade around 0.6% lower week to date.

Trading for gold came against the backdrop of a dollar that was almost flat on the session. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a gauge of the dollar against a half-dozen currencies, was little changed at 92.412, while the 10-year Treasury note yield

was at 1.29% from around 1.31% on Wednesday.

Traders are waiting for Friday’s jobs report “before taking the next leap,” wrote Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a daily research report.

“A weak payrolls number could weigh further on the dollar and propel gold above $1,833 where it has repeatedly run into resistance over the last couple of months,” Erlam wrote.

Last Friday’s remarks from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, at the Jackson Hole central-bankers symposium, revealed that he supports tapering the pace of bond purchases this year, but didn’t discuss when the Fed might formally announce the taper.

Commodity analysts say that Powell’s comments last week have made Friday’s U.S. monthly jobs update a yardstick for those hoping to glean insights on the possible timing and scope of the Fed’s rollback of accommodations, which could influence trading in gold.

On Thursday, the government reported that the number of people applying for U.S. employment benefits at the end of August fell to a new pandemic low, down by 14,000 to 340,000.

Also on Comex, copper futures edged higher after posting a more than 2% loss on Wednesday. December copper

tacked on 0.2% to $4.29 a pound.

“Copper rebounded on Thursday as the Chinese central bank will take measures to support the economy after [Wednesday’s] weaker-than-expected Chinese PMI data, said Anna Stablum, commodities broker at Marex, in note. “The People’s Bank of China will provide 300 billion yuan ($46.4 bllion) to help small to medium-sized firms.”

October platinum

also rose 0.2% to $1,001.60 an ounce, but December palladium

shed 0.9% to $2,420 an ounce.

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