Gold prices in the domestic spot and futures market could rule stable on Friday on physical buying in Asia but any gain may be short-lived.

Later in the day, the US employment data is likely to show that probably jobs added last year were the highest in over five years. Analysts estimate that the number of US citizens claiming to be jobless could be the least in a decade.

Fed stimulus taper

The rub-off any such positive data is that the US Federal Reserve may be tempted to further cut its bond buying programme to boost the economy. From this month onwards, the Fed Reserve has decided to prune its stimulus package to $75 billion.

Therefore, expect the trade to exercise caution.

‘Gold to test 2010 lows’

Analysts’ views on gold are also bearish with Bank of America Merill Lynch forecasting gold’s average price at $1,150 an ounce this year. Barclays, which has pegged the average for gold at $ 1,205, expects the yellow metal to test 2010 lows.

Data showed that the holdings of precious metal in the SPDR Trust, world’s largest gold-exchange traded fund, were unchanged at 793.12 tonnes.

Spot gold, gold futures

By mid-day in Asia, spot gold was up $5 at $1,233.26 an ounce and gold contracts for delivery in February ruled at $1,232.80.

NCDEX spot gold ended had marginally higher at Rs 29,420 to 10 gm on Thursday.

MCX and NCDEX gold February contracts could continue to trade below Rs 29,000.

Crude oil

With production in the US rising to a three-decade high for the current period and demand dropping, crude oil is likely to come under pressure.

Brent crude was quoted at $106.60 a barrel and US crude at $92.35 in early Asian trade.

US data that soyabean exports dropped and Brazil’s forecast of a higher output of the oilseed are likely to put pressure in the oils and oilseeds market. Fears of weather affecting soyabean crop in Argentina could cushion the market from sharp fall.

Soyabean, crude palm oil

Chicago Board of Trade soyabean, to be delivered in March, ruled at $12.73 a bushel. Crude palm oil, also for March delivery, opened higher at 2,544 or $776.50 a tonne on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

Corn, wheat

A fall in US exports and prospects of higher production are likely to continue putting pressure on wheat and corn (industrial maize).

CBOT wheat contracts expiring in March slipped to $5.85 a bushel and corn for the same month to $4.10.