Gold fell from near-record highs on Friday as traders awaited additional economic indications, but it was still on track for its best week in almost two months as chances of a U.S. rate rise delay and banking difficulties fueled safe-haven demand.
At 0801 GMT, spot gold was down 0.5% to $2,040.10 per ounce, but up more than 2% for the week. Gold futures in the United States fell 0.3% to $2,048.60.
Prices rose to $2,072.19 on Thursday, barely shy of the record high of $2,072.49.
Investors now await more economic data, including U.S. non-farm payrolls figures at 1230 GMT, that could build the case for a rate cut, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell pushed back on such expectations.
If prices remain above $2,030, gold could climb to previous records if U.S. data allows, said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index.
Economic uncertainty and lower rates boost demand for zero-yielding gold.
“But if we see further panic around the (U.S.) debt ceiling or U.S. banks, hold onto your hats as I fear price action could get nasty around these highs and punish bulls and bears,” Simpson said, warning that in “times of severe stress all markets including gold can fall.”
PacWest Bancorp’s move to explore strategic options deepened fears about the health of U.S. lenders and hit shares of regional banks and major financial players on Thursday.
Also burnishing bullion’s appeal, the dollar headed for a weekly drop.
“With investors more concerned about protecting capital rather than seeking high yield, gold is fitting the bill as the asset of choice,” said KCM Trade’s chief market analyst Tim Waterer.
Silver fell 0.6% to $25.91 per ounce.
Platinum lost 0.1% to $1,038.52 while palladium rose 0.2% to $1,450.59.