Gold prices continued overnight gains into Asia on Thursday as investors eye renewed worries over Greece’s debt woes and ahead of Chinese New Year demand that may be stoked in part by easier monetary policy. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose 0.09% to $1,270.30. Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery gained 0.24% to trade at $17.392 a troy ounce. Silver rose 7.0 cents, or 0.41%, to end at $17.32 on Tuesday. Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for March delivery eased 0.01% to trade at $2.590 a pound. Overnight, gold hit the highest levels of the session on Wednesday, after data showed that U.S. non-farm private employment rose less-than-expected in January and after China’s central bank cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios in a surprise decision. Payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 213,000 in January, below expectations for an increase of 225,000 and slowing from jobs gains of 253,000 in December. While not viewed as a reliable guide for the government jobs report due on Friday, February 6, it does give guidance on private-sector hiring. Market analysts expect the data to show that the U.S. economy added 234,000 jobs in January, slowing from a gain of 252,000 in December, while the unemployment rate was forecast to hold steady at 5.6%. A strong U.S. nonfarm payrolls report was likely to add to speculation over when the Federal Reserve will begin to raise interest rates, while a weak number could boost gold by undermining the argument for an early rate hike.
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