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Gold Heavy on Dollar Strength, NFPs– September Opening Range in FocusGold Heavy on Dollar Strength, NFPs– September Opening Range in Focus

Fundamental Forecast for Gold:Neutral

Gold prices fell for the second consecutive week with the precious metal off by 1.3% to trade at 1118 ahead of the New York close on Friday. Bullion has now fallen more than 4% from the August high with the decline losing steam just ahead of technical support. Despite the recent downtrend in price action, gold may continue to lack direction in the interim as US data continues to stabilize in the face of global weakness- a divergence that could threaten the Fed’s plan for a 2015 rate hike.

The U.S. Non-Farm payrolls report released on Friday showed the world’s largest economy adding 173K jobs in the month of August, just shy of the 217K consensus estimate. Although the previous month’s data was upwardly revised, continued weakness in broader labor force participation remains a concern as we hold steady near 40-year lows at just 62.6%. A larger-than-expected decline in the headline unemployment rate to 5.1% drew most of the attention however with the greenback strengthening against the most of its counterparts on Friday.

The question remains – does the Fed have enough confidence in the underlying data to justify a September lift off? Indeed the recent batch of central bank rhetoric does suggest the committee remains poised to raise borrowing costs for the first time in nearly a decade. However with data this week showing Canada in technical recession, ongoing turmoil in China & EM markets, and domestic concerns regarding the strengthening greenback, the bar remains high for a September hike and as such, bullion prices may struggle to find direction in the near-term.

From a technical standpoint, gold remains vulnerable for further losses while below confluence resistance at the upper median-line parallel extending off the January high and the August high-day close at 1155. A breach above this region is needed to shift the focus back to the topside for gold.

That said, prices look to open next week just above interim support at the 61.8% retracement of the August range at 1114 with a break of the 2015 low-day close at 1096 needed to put the broader downtrend back in control targeting 1067/70. Note that we’re still putting in the monthly opening range – a strategy that has served us well in gold for the past two months. We’ll be looking for a rebound early next week to test the monthly highs with a general bearish bias on the yellow metal sub-1155.