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Gold Unchanged on Higher Jobless Claims and French Election Jitters

Gold is unchanged in the Thursday session, after posting losses on Wednesday. In North American trade, gold is trading at $1279.91 per ounce. On the release front, manufacturing and employment numbers were soft, as the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index and unemployment claims missed their estimates. Later in the day, US Treasury Secretary Robert Mnuchin will deliver remarks in Washington.

Gold prices have climbed sharply in April, with gains of 2.6 percent. The base metal has benefited from geopolitical tensions in Syria and North Korea, as well as uncertainty over the French election on April 23. These concerns have dampened risk appetite, as investors have snapped up gold, traditionally a safe-haven asset.The French election race is one of the tightest in decades, with the four front-runners clustered within a few percentage points. Given the closeness and unpredictability of the election, the latest opinion polls are moving the markets. On Thursday, a Harris Interactive opinion poll showed centrist Emmanuel Macron gaining ground, with 25% of the vote. Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen follows with 22%. Next are Republican candidate Francois Fillon and left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, both tied at 19%. Le Pen and Melenchon are both running on an anti-EU platform, so the markets are cheering for Macron and Fillion. We can expect more volatility from gold as the turbulent election winds up and French voters have their say.

With the US economy continuing to perform well, the markets are expecting the Fed to continue to gradually raise rates in 2017. The Fed has broadly hinted that it plans two more rate hikes this year, but there have been calls from some Fed policymakers for three more hikes. However, soft retail sales and CPI numbers in March are likely to make the Fed more dovish, and on Tuesday, the Atlanta and New York Federal Reserve lowered their outlook for US economic growth for the first quarter. The Fed can point to a labor market that is close to capacity as well as strong consumer confidence, but surprisingly, this has not translated into stronger consumer spending, a key driver of economic growth. The odds of a June hike have slipped to 46% according to the CME Group, down sharply from 65% in early April.

XAU/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (April 20)

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

XAU/USD for Thursday, April 20, 2017

XAU/USD April 20 at 13:00 EST

Open: 1279.56 High: 1283.47 Low: 1276.50 Close: 1279.91

XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1199 1232 1260 1285 1307 1337

Further levels in both directions:

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is unchanged in the Thursday session. Currently, long and short positions are almost evenly split, indicative of a lack of trader bias as to what direction XAU/USD will take next. 

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher [4]

Market Analyst at OANDA [5]
A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental analysis, Kenneth Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in several major online financial publications including Investing.com, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Based in Israel, Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.
Kenny Fisher

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