Gold futures climbed to the highest in almost seven weeks after slower-than-expected hiring in the U.S. boosted speculation that the Federal Reserve will delay raising interest rates. Silver rose to a one-week high.
Employers in March added 126,000 workers, the fewest since December 2013 and short of the 245,000 forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, a government report showed Friday.
Gold slid for three straight quarters as a yearlong string of monthly job gains exceeding 200,000, the longest run since 1995, added to signs of an improving U.S. economy. Traders have cut the probability the Fed will raise borrowing costs by September to a 29 percent chance from 34 percent odds before the jobs report.
Gold futures for June delivery added 1.5 percent to settle at $1,218.60 an ounce at 1:42 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices earlier touched $1,224.50, the highest since Feb. 17.