Gold futures settled higher on Friday, bouncing back after early weakness, as data released by the U.S. Labor Department showed job growth in the month of July to have fallen short of estimates.
Spot Gold plunged to a near 17-month low of $1,204 early on Friday, as the dollar rose to a two-week high ahead of the release of July jobs data by the U.S. Labor department.
However, after data showed much weaker than expected U.S. job growth in the month of July, the dollar retreated and the bullion gained in strength.
The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 157,000 jobs in July compared to economist estimates for a jump of about 190,000 jobs.
The weaker than expected job growth in July was partly due to a drop in government employment, which fell by 13,000 jobs as some teachers were laid off for the summer.
However, the report also showed upward revisions to the increases in employment in May and June, which surged up by 268,000 jobs and 248,000 jobs, respectively. With the upward revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 59,000 more than previously reported.
Despite the smaller than expected increase in employment, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.9% in July after rising to 4.0% in June.
Gold futures for December ended up up $3.10, or nearly 0.2%, at $1,223.20 an ounce. However, gold futures lost about 0.8% in the week, recording losses for the fourth successive week.
Silver futures for September were up $0.080, or 0.52%, at $15.465 an ounce. Copper futures edged up by $0.020, or 071%, to $2.757 per pound.
Other economic data from U.S. too fell short of expectations. A report from the Institute of Supply Management showed that growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed by much more than anticipated in the month of July, with the ISM non-manufacturing index dropping to 55.7 in the month, after rising to 59.1 in June.
The report showed a significant decrease by the business activity index, which tumbled to 56.5 in July from 63.9 in the previous month.
Meanwhile, a report from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit widened to $46.3 billion in June from a revised $43.2 billion in May. The deficit had been expected to widen to $46.5 billion from the $43.1 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The mood was cautious due to trade war concerns on reports China is countering U.S. move to impose 25% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods into U.S., by proposing tariffs on about $60 billion worth U.S. goods.