Gold prices rise towards $2,400 as rate cut bets grow before payrolls data

2– Gold prices rose in Asian trade on Friday, coming close to key highs as bets on interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve grew in anticipation of key nonfarm payrolls data due later in the day.

The yellow metal was set for weekly gains as a string of week U.S. economic readings pushed up expectations that the Fed will begin cutting rates in September. This notion pushed the dollar to two-month lows.

Interest rate cuts by the and the also boosted optimism over looser monetary policy, which benefits metal markets. 

rose 0.5% to $2,386.55 an ounce, while expiring in August rose 0.6% to $2,405.40 an ounce by 00:59 ET (04:59 GMT). 

Gold heads for weekly gains, nonfarm payrolls awaited

Spot gold was set to add about 2.6% this week, as soft readings on the U.S. economy- particularly the labor market- fed expectations of interest rate cuts.

The readings came just days before key data, which is due later on Friday, and is set to offer more definitive cues on the labor sector and interest rates.

The payrolls data also comes ahead of a Fed meeting next week, where the central bank is widely expected to keep rates static. But any signals on monetary policy will be closely watched, especially in the wake of cooling U.S. economic data.

Other precious metals rose on Friday, but were set for a mixed weekly performance. rose 0.3% t o$1,014.40 an ounce, while rose 0.8% to $31.622 an ounce. 

Platinum was down 2.6%, while silver was up nearly 4% this week.

Copper prices muted, but China data offers some support 

Among industrial metals, copper prices were muted on Friday, and were nursing a tumble from record highs over the past two weeks. But positive Chinese import data presented some positive trends for the red metal.

Benchmark on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.3% to $10,116.50 a tonne, while one-month fell 0.4% to $4.6532 a pound.

Data from China showed on Friday that while overall to China grew much less than expected in May, copper imports rose 2.6% year-on-year. 

China’s grew more than expected, reflecting strong industrial output and overseas demand.