Gold Set for Second Straight Weekly Rise

Gold bars from the vault of a bank are seen in this illustration picture taken in Zurich November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
Gold bars from the vault of a bank are seen in this illustration picture taken in Zurich November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
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Gold Set for Second Straight Weekly Rise

Gold bars from the vault of a bank are seen in this illustration picture taken in Zurich November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
Gold bars from the vault of a bank are seen in this illustration picture taken in Zurich November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Gold prices firmed on Friday and were set for a second straight weekly gain, while traders awaited US employment data to gauge the trajectory of the Federal Reserve's potential interest rate cuts.
Spot gold rose 0.3% at $2,363.19 per ounce, as of 0506 GMT and was up more than 1% for the week. US gold futures gained 0.1% to $2,372.60, Reuters said.
The US dollar was on track for a weekly decline, making dollar priced-bullion more attractive to buyers holding other currencies.
"Gold has enjoyed a productive week so far, with the precious metal being a beneficiary of some weaker US macro data," said Tim Waterer, KCM Trade's chief market analyst.
Economic data on Wednesday, including weak services and ADP employment reports, pointed to a slowing US economy. A separate report showed an increase in initial applications for US unemployment benefits last week.
Market spotlight is on the US nonfarm payrolls report due at 1230 GMT.
"If the jobs data misses the mark on the lower side, I expect investors will start to further fancy a possible September rate cut from the Fed, which could see gold have another crack at the $2,400 level," Waterer said.
Traders are currently pricing in about a 73% chance of a Fed rate cut in September, according to CME FedWatch Tool.
Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.
Analysts at NAB expect gold prices to average around $2,200 per ounce in 2024 before easing to $2,050 in 2025.
"Gold demand in early 2024 has been underpinned by central bank purchases – with a key priority of these institutions appearing to be the diversification of assets within their reserves," NAB said in a note.
Spot silver rose 0.5% to $30.56 and was headed for its best week since May 17.
Platinum fell 0.3% to $999.64. Palladium gained 0.5% to $1,022.25 and was headed for a third consecutive weekly gain.



New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, that work is underway on new regulations and legislation that will facilitate the investment process in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major transformation in the tourism sector after it enacted and developed a number of regulations and launched mega projects that allowed the country to attract more than 100 million visitors last year, the target initially set for 2030.
During a press conference on Wednesday at the Abu Faraj heritage palaces in Al-Aziza, west of the city of Abha in the southern Aseer region, Al-Khatib revealed the ministry’s moves to provide appropriate long-term funding at a competitive cost in order to encourage investment in the Saudi tourism system.
In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister pointed to the most prominent achievements in the sector, revealing that the Kingdom received 60 million visitors during the first half of 2024, with spending amounting to SAR 143 billion ($38.1 billion), recording about 10 percent growth in the number of tourists and spending.
He added that by the end of the first half of this year, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product had reached 5 percent, and was moving steadily toward achieving 10 percent, which is equivalent to SAR 600-700 billion of tourism income.
Moreover, Al-Khatib also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Colleges of Excellence Company, with the aim of developing human capabilities and expanding international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.
The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.
The minister added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SAR 7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SAR 35 billion.”
He pointed out that the fund financed 10 major projects in the Aseer region, ranging from international hotels to multi-use projects with a value exceeding one billion riyals. International hotel brands included: InterContinental Residence in Abha, DoubleTree in Khamis Mushait Governorate, and Khayal Walk Boulevard.