Gold traded mostly sideways this week with a lack of catalysts to move the precious metal significantly up or down.
Aerial image of the Detour Lake gold mine
The week started off with the gold price hovering around $1,580 per ounce, up slightly from last Friday's close. Analysts quoted by
pointed to a bearish sentiment in the market, and referred to last week's announcement that the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold ETF, saw its holdings drop to the lowest level since 2008.
Bullion traders have been exiting their long positions as the economic picture in the United States appears to steadily improve. Last Friday's
places the unemployment rate at 7.7 percent, the lowest level since 2008, and that has some speculating that the US Central Bank's quantitative easing program could soon come to an end.
"Gold prices have built in the view that the US recovery is on a good footing," said Societe Generale commodity strategist Jeremy Friesen, "and by the end of the year we should see the Fed exiting the stimulus, which should be bearish for gold."
On the other hand, some analysts note that macroeconomic uncertainty could return as the May debt ceiling deadline approaches, and that could lift gold prices. Others say the sunny jobs report isn't necessarily indicative of a prevailing trend; since the 2008 recession, companies have gone on hiring binges only to pull back the reins a few months later. Poor economic news is generally bullish for gold.
Gold enjoyed a bit of a lift on Tuesday following remarks from Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann, who indicated that the Eurozone crisis is "not over." The yellow metal rose above $1,590 for the first time this month. The modestly bullish sentiment continued into Thursday when gold traders took advantage of a selloff in the US dollar to snap up bargains. At the close of the session gold futures for April delivery were up $2.60 at $1,591 per ounce, while spot gold was last quoted up $4.60, at $1,592.75.