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Gold was down on Friday morning in Asia, but held steady as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of the latest U.S. jobs report.
Gold futures inched down 0.03% to $1,758.60 by 12:22 AM ET (4:22 AM GMT), down about 0.3% so far in the week. The dollar, which usually moves inversely to gold, inched up on Friday but remained below a one-year high.
The U.S. jobs report, which includes non-farm payrolls, is due later in the day and could impact the U.S. Federal Reserve’s timetable to begin asset tapering. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in September that there was broad agreement among policymakers to begin asset tapering as soon as November 2021, as long as the jobs report for September was “decent.”
The number of initial jobless claims filed during the past week also dropped to 326,000, the most in three months, and indicated further recovery in the country’s job market.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved legislation to temporarily raise the federal government’s $28.4 trillion debt limit and avoid the risk of default within the month. It will put off a longer-term solution until early December 2021.
The safe-haven dollar hovered below a one-year high to major peers on Friday amid improved risk sentiment, while traders awaited clues on the pace of Federal Reserve policy normalization from a closely watched monthly payrolls reports.
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar held near the three-week high hit overnight, when it surged 0.55% against the greenback.
Global equities rallied and bond yields climbed after U.S. Senate leaders moved to avert a U.S. debt default, while a global easing in energy prices tempered simmering stagflation fears.
“The improvement in risk appetite favours pro-growth currencies, with safe-haven pairs the underperformers,” Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) in Sydney, wrote in a client note.
The Aussie has made “a decent go at breaking higher,” but the test will be whether it can stay about $0.7315 following several failed attempts this year, Catril said.
Oil prices rose on Friday, tracking towards a 4.5% gain for the week on signs some industries have begun switching fuel from high-priced gas to oil and on doubts the U.S. government would release oil from its strategic reserves for now.
“A lot of catalysts are out there to keep the oil market tight,” said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA, pointing to signs of improved fuel demand as economic activity rebounds and coronavirus restrictions ease as well as fears that a cold winter will further strain gas supplies.
Expectations are high “that nothing in the immediate future will change the significant supply/demand deficit that is in place”, said Moya.
Brent crude futures jumped 93 cents, or 1.1%, to $82.88 a barrel by 0503 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed by $1.02, or 1.3%, to $79.32 a barrel.
Earlier in the week, WTI touched a near seven-year high of $79.78 while Brent hit a three-year high of $83.47.
“Oil prices lifted after the U.S Energy Department said it has no plan ‘at this time’ to tap into U.S. strategic oil reserves to cool the rally in oil prices,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.
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