Gold approached another record high on Friday as a bleak jobs report added to fears that the US economy is weakening.
Gold jumped US$47.80, or 2.6 percent, to end at US$1,876.90 an ounce. That’s just US$15 shy of the closing high of US$1,891.90 an ounce reached on Aug. 22.
Investors were jolted by the jobs report. The Labor Department said no jobs were added in the US economy last month and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. The report was far weaker than analysts had expected and renewed concerns that the US might be headed for another slowdown or recession.
Europe’s debt problems are still dragging on, and China’s economy is showing signs of slower growth. Those problems could weaken global demand for many kinds of commodities including oil, metals and agricultural products such as corn, soybeans and wheat.
As a result, investors have been buying gold, sending its price up 50 percent over the past year. Many analysts expect gold to continue to climb if global economic worries persist. Some have speculated it could reach about US$2,250 an ounce before the end of the year.
“I think there’s a general concern over the economy and the lack of a clear direction,” Telvent DTN analyst Darin Newsom said. “Throughout history, gold has been seen as this one thing you can always rely on.”
In other trading, silver rose US$1.537, or 3.7 percent, to finish at US$43.069 an ounce.
Benchmark crude fell US$2.48, or 2.8 percent, to end at US$86.45 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Wheat, corn and soybeans all ended higher. December wheat rose US$0.145 to US$7.755 per bushel, December corn increased US$0.215, or 2.9 percent, to US$7.60 per bushel and November soybeans rose US$0.1125 to US$14.4575 per bushel.