It's a mixed bag for commodities and commodity-related funds at the end of the week, following the stronger-than-expected July payrolls report. The government said the U.S. labor market added 209,000 new jobs in July, above expectations for an increase by 183,000 jobs. The unemployment rate edged down to 4.3% in July from 4.4% in June.
The data, which rallied equities and the dollar index, weighed heavily on gold, setting it on track for a lower close to the week. Oil and energy commodities, meanwhile, traded mostly higher following Baker Hughes' oil rig report but are set to end the week in the red. And, soft commodities were largely unruffled by the jobs data and ended the week mixed.
Gold's decline on Friday was the steepest in a month, closing the session down 0.8% at $1,264.30; the weekly drop was a more modest decline of 0.9%. Copper slipped earlier as the jobs data lifted the dollar, but was largely unfazed, ending Friday's session up 0.4% at $2.88 and the week up 0.3%.
SPDR Gold Trust was down some 1% during the week, ending the day's session at $119.69 while United States Copper Index Fund ( CPER ) rose 0.2% in the last five days, ending Friday at $18.62.
Oil and energy commodities turned positive during the latter half of Friday's session, but closed the week in the red, following the Baker Hughes report that overall U.S. rig counts declined for the week, with the number of active rigs drilling for oil down by 1 to 765 rigs, while those drilling for gas fell by 3 to 189. This means that, overall, oil and gas rigs were 954 for the week.
The decline in rig counts could help diminish the concerns of overproduction that have driven down oil prices . Traders are also looking ahead to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' two-day meeting in Abu Dhabi next week, with members and non-members pledging to get "cheaters" who had promised production cuts but did not comply to honor the group's targets.
Over the last five days, light, sweet crude oil for September delivery was down 0.6% and closed at $49.51 per barrel. In other energy futures, heating oil inched up 0.1% during the week, and settled at $1.65 per gallon at the close of Friday's session. Meanwhile, natural gas was down 4.9% during the week, and closed Friday's session at $2.78 per British thermal unit.
The United States Oil Fund ( USO ) was down 0.4% during the week and closed the session at $10.13 while the United States Natural Gas ETF ( UNG ) was had a weekly drop of 5.5%, at $6.24 as the regular session ended. United States Gasoline Fund LP ( UGA ) was at $26.82, dropping 0.2% during the week, and United States Diesel-Heating Oil Fund LP ( UHN ) closed at $15.50, having risen 0.8% in the last five days.
And, soft commodities ended the week mixed. The standout was December 2017 ICE cocoa, which saw a weekly slide of 2.4% and settled at $2,037 a tonne as the session closed. Ghana had reported that it expects the biggest cocoa crop in six years due to favorable climate conditions, according to Africatime.com. Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world.
iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN (NIB) closed Friday's session at $24.27 and had a weekly drop of 2.8% and iPath Pure Beta Cocoa ETN (CHOC) saw a weekly decline of 2.7% and settled at the close of this session at $30.09. United States Agricultural Index Fund (USAG) fell 4.5%, ending Friday's session at $16.78.
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