Singapore: Gold extended gains to a third session on Monday to hit its highest in a month after a surprisingly weak U.S. jobs report stoked expectations that the Federal Reserve could temper the pace of its stimulus wind-down.
A weaker U.S. dollar also supported prices, although physical demand in China - the world`s biggest bullion consumer - dropped off due to the rally in prices.
Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at USD 1,250.15 an ounce by 0720 GMT, after hitting USD 1,254.05 earlier - its highest since December 12.
"Prices may continue to rise till USD 1,267," said Joyce Liu, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures. "As it`s earnings season for U.S. equities, large disappointments in company earnings may also direct some funds back to gold."
"However, the general macroeconomic sentiment and outlook continue to weigh on gold, especially as bond yields continue to rise and prospects for USD remain upbeat. As such, we would consider gold prices this week to be largely supported but vulnerable to end the recent rally."
Gold lost nearly 30 percent of its value in 2013 as strong U.S. economic data prompted the Fed to scale back its stimulus. In January, however, gold prices have been supported by weaker equities and robust demand in China ahead of the Lunar New Year.
A slowdown in outflows from SPDR Gold Trust, the world`s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, has also helped.
Prices were given a renewed boost by Friday`s U.S. nonfarm payroll data which showed that U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in nearly 3 years in December.
Markets believe the weak jobs report could prompt the Fed to proceed with caution in tapering its historic monetary stimulus. The Fed last month announced its first cut to the $85 billion monthly bond purchases.
Other data on Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in gold futures and options for a second straight week.
On the Shanghai Gold Exchange, premiums for 99.99 percent purity gold fell to about USD 17 from Friday`s USD 18 as the price gain deterred some buyers.
Buying from China was strong last week due to new year purchases but have now slowed, traders said.
First Published: Monday, January 13, 2014, 12:52