Gold futures advanced in thin trade on Friday, but prices were still set to record the worst monthly loss in five months amid growing concerns the Federal Reserve will start to taper its bond-buying program at one of its next few meetings.
Prices of the precious metal lost 5.4% in November, the biggest monthly decline since June, as solid U.S. economic data underlined expectations the Fed will begin curbing stimulus.
Gold prices have largely tracked shifting expectations as to whether the Fed would start unwinding its USD85-billion-a-month asset-purchase program by the end of the year.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery rose 1.01% on Friday to settle the week at USD1,250.40 a troy ounce.
Comex floor trading remained closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S. The February contract ended Wednesday’s session down 0.29% to settle at USD1,237.90 a troy ounce.
Gold futures were likely to find support at USD1,226.40 a troy ounce, the low from November 25 and resistance at USD1,258.20, the high from November 26.
On the week, Comex gold prices added 0.5%, amid indications of increased demand from China and as investors returned to the market to seek cheap valuations after prices tumbled to a four-and-a-half-month low earlier in the week.
Bearish sentiment on the precious metal remained intact after minutes of the Fed’s October meeting said the central bank could start scaling back its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program in the “coming months” if the economy continues to improve as expected.
The Fed, which holds its next meeting on December 17-18, has said the timing of its tapering depends on the health of the labor and housing markets.
Prices of the precious metal are down approximately 26% this year, heading for the first annual loss in 13 years.
Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for March delivery settled 1.78% higher on Friday to close the week at USD20.03 a troy ounce, as a weaker dollar and some bargain-buying provided support.
Comex silver prices ended Wednesday’s session down 1.06% at USD19.68 a troy ounce. Silver prices fell to a three-and-a-half-month low of USD19.62 on November 25.
March silver futures inched up 0.84% on the week, but still lost 8.8% in November, the worst monthly performance since June.
Meanwhile, copper for March delivery rose 0.45% on Friday to close the week at USD3.205 a pound, amid expectations of increased demand from top consumer China.
On Wednesday, copper futures shed 0.89% to settle at USD3.190 a pound. On the week, Comex copper prices declined 0.28%, bringing its monthly loss to 2.1% in November.
Copper traders often use manufacturing numbers as indicators for future copper demand growth, as the industrial metal is widely used by the sector.
China is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
New York-traded crude oil futures edged higher in thin trade on Friday, as investors returned to the market to seek cheap valuations after prices fell to a six-month low in the previous session.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in January inched up 0.46% on Friday to settle the week at USD92.72 a barrel by close of trade.
Nymex floor trading remained closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S.
The January contract tumbled to USD91.77 a barrel on Wednesday, the lowest since June 3, before settling at USD92.30 a barrel, down 1.47%.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD91.77 a barrel, the low from November 27 and resistance at USD94.69 a barrel, the high from November 26.
On the week, U.S. oil futures lost 2.23%. For November, Nymex crude oil saw a 3.2% monthly loss, as ongoing concerns over rising U.S. inventories and increased production levels weighed.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that crude oil inventories last week rose by 3 million barrels to 391.4 million barrels, the most since June.
Domestic output rose to 8.02 million barrels a day, the highest level in almost 25 years.
Concerns that the Federal Reserve will start to taper its bond-buying program at one of its next few meetings also weighed. The Fed’s stimulus program is viewed by many investors as a key driver in boosting the price of commodities as it tends to depress the value of the dollar.