Gold slips as dollar, yields strengthen on robust U.S. jobs data

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FILE PHOTO: Marked ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold are placed in a cart at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in Krasnoyarsk

By Asha Sistla

(Reuters) – Gold prices fell on Monday as the dollar and Treasury yields firmed after a solid U.S. payrolls report raised expectations of aggressive rate hikes, although the Ukraine crisis and talks of more sanctions against Russia supported safe-haven demand.

A stronger dollar makes gold less attractive for other currency holders, while higher yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-paying bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,917.55 per ounce by 0434 GMT. U.S. Gold futures slipped 0.2% to $1,920.30.

“While the conflict in Eastern Europe may be providing a modest tailwind to gold prices on dips, it is very clear now that the main pricing inputs into gold have swung to the impact of higher U.S. yields and a higher U.S. dollar,” said OANDA senior analyst Jeffrey Halley.

The dollar made a firm start to the week while Treasury yields were also higher, as the monthly U.S. jobs report indicated a strong labor market and is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on track to maintain its hawkish policy stance. [USD/] [US/]

U.S. job data showed the unemployment rate falling to a new two-year low of 3.6% and wages re-accelerating, positioning the Fed to raise interest rates by a hefty 50 basis points in May.

Investors are looking forward to any discussion of a 50 basis point rate hike when the Fed releases minutes from its March meeting on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Germany’s defence minister said on Sunday the European Union must discuss banning imports of Russian gas, after Ukrainian and European officials accused Russian forces of atrocities.

Spot gold may fall to $1,898 as it has broken a support at $1,924 per ounce, according to Reuters’ technical analyst Wang Tao. [TECH/C]

Spot silver edged 0.2% lower to $24.57 per ounce, platinum was down 0.1% at $984.49, while palladium rose 1.3% to $2,306.19.

(Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)