Gold prices were flat to slightly lower on Friday as upbeat economic data from the U.S. and China spurred fresh optimism about the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,775.28 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.2 percent at $1,785.95. Soaring Covid-19 cases across the United States over the past week is keeping the downside capped for the precious metal.
The Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report showed the U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in June to set a second consecutive record.
Non-farm payroll employment skyrocketed by 4.8 million jobs in June after soaring by an upwardly revised 2.7 million jobs in May.
Economists had expected employment to surge up by about 3.0 million jobs compared to the spike of 2.5 million jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, massive rehiring sent the jobless rate down to 11.1 percent from 13.3 percent in May.
Economists said they are cautiously optimistic about the numbers and the employment numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels.
Data out of China showed earlier today that China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June.
The Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 58.4 in June from 55.0 in May. The rate of expansion was the fastest since April 2010.
Total new orders advanced at the quickest pace since August 2010 and new export work expanded for the first time since January. The composite output index rose to 55.7 in June from 54.5 in May.
On the virus front, the United States notched more than 53,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours Thursday, marking a record single-jump in infections around the country.