The shine was somewhat taken off of gold’s sparkling week on Friday as the release of better than expected US data had analysts suggesting the second Federal Reserve interest rate hike could be just around the corner.
US non-farm payrolls, key to the Fed in determining the health of the US economy, came in at 292,000 for December.
The figure represents the number of jobs created in the month, and was significantly ahead of the 200,000 forecast by experts.
Dennis de Jong, managing director at forex firm UFX.com, said: “It’s far too soon to know definitively if Fed Chair Janet Yellen and Co. made the right decision in raising interest rates last month.
“However, December’s well above expected non-farm payroll figures will confirm her assessment that the world’s biggest economy is in rude health.”
Indeed, the Fed Futures Fund, a tool used to predict when the Fed will raise rates, suggests there is a 50/50 chance of it hiking rates as soon as March.
Gold, which had been on the rise all week on concerns over the health of the Chinese economy, retreated US$13, or 1.2%, to US$1,096.
Elsewhere, silver dropped almost 2% to US$14.04 while platinum eased 1.2% to US$867.
Randgold Resources up 17p to 4,420p
Fresnillo down 1p to 704p
Anglo American down 2p to 238p.