Gold has extended gains, holding near an 11-month high hit in the prior session as the European Central Bank said it was ready to buy bonds to help the bloc’s debt-laden nations, boosting bullion’s appeal as a hedge against inflation.
Investors are now waiting for critical jobs data from the United States for indications on whether its latest stimulus measures are having the desired effect on the labour market.
Spot gold inched up 0.2 per cent to $US1791.75 an ounce, on course for a fifth day of gains and a weekly climb of 1.2 per cent. It hit $US1794.90 in the previous session, the highest since November, 2011.
US gold edged down 0.1 per cent to $US1793.90.
European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged, while President Mario Draghi said the ECB was primed to buy troubled euro zone bonds when conditions were right and that this had already calmed financial market tension.
Investors will closely watch the result of the Bank of Japan’s policy meeting later in the day. BOJ is expected to keep monetary settings unchanged even as pressure is mounting to ease again, following last month’s move.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose only slightly last week after a big drop the week before, a hopeful sign the job market is still on the mend. The data came a day before the closely-watched monthly non-farm payrolls data.
The labour unrest in South Africa has spread to more mines run by the world’s top platinum producer Anglo American Platinum in a wave of wildcat strike action that has hit the country’s mining sector.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings hit a record high of 1333.44 tonnes by Oct. 4.
Spot platinum rose to a more than seven-month high of $US1719.50 earlier in the day, on course for its ninth consecutive session of gains.
Spot palladium, which hit $US675.50 on Thursday - its highest in more than two weeks, was at $US668.50. It was headed for a weekly rise of more than 5 per cent.