After starting the week with losses, gold has been uneventful and the trend has continued on Thursday. In the North American trade, the spot price for one ounce of gold is $1282.80, unchanged on the day. In economic news, unemployment claims dropped to 199 thousand, beating the forecast.
Unemployment claims sparkled last week, falling from 213 thousand to 199 thousand. This was the first time that the indicator dropped below the 200-thousand level since 1969. The four-week average, which is less volatile, dropped by 5.5 thousand to 215,000. The strong figures indicate that the employment picture remains bright, despite the ongoing U.S. government shutdown, which has resulted in the layoff of some 800,000 government workers. With President Trump and the Democrats locked in a deadlock over funding for a wall with Mexico, the shutdown could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy and weigh on the U.S. dollar.
Gold ended 2018 with a bang, posting gains of 4.9 percent. However, the metal is unchanged in January, despite some pushes towards the symbolic $1300 level. Despite some geopolitical hotspots such as the Chinese slowdown, Brexit and the U.S-China trade war, risk appetite has generally remained steady. Investors have opted to remain on the sidelines rather than snap up safe-haven assets like gold. Earlier in the week, China posted its weakest GDP since 1990, and if China releases further soft data, risk apprehension could rise, which could boost gold prices.