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Gold flat ahead of US jobs data

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Gold prices held in a narrow range on Friday ahead of US jobs data later in the day, with traders looking for any implications for the outlook for US monetary policy over the rest of the year.

[BENGALURU] Gold prices held in a narrow range on Friday ahead of US jobs data later in the day, with traders looking for any implications for the outlook for US monetary policy over the rest of the year.

Spot gold was little changed at US$1,348.66 per ounce by 0758 GMT.

US gold futures were up 0.3 per cent at US$1,351.60 per ounce.

Traders are looking to the US government's jobs report on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls probably rose by 180,000 jobs in January after increasing 148,000 in December, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The unemployment rate is forecast to be unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 per cent.

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Stronger-than-expected jobs data, lower unemployment and higher wages would signal strength in the economy, and could in turn strengthen the US dollar and pressure gold, analysts say.

"All eyes on the non farm payrolls numbers tonight, a figure outside the consensus forecast could rattle the markets where volatility has already crept in over the last week or so," MKS PAMP Group trader Tim Brown said.

The US Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but raised its inflation outlook and flagged "further gradual" rate increases.

"The rate hikes seem to be doing little to dampen the relative resilience on display in gold," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

Spot gold is expected to rise to US$1,357 per ounce, as it has broken above resistance at US$1,347, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

The dollar nursed losses against a basket of currencies on Friday and was on track for a weekly fall as investors focused on renewed economic strength in the eurozone.

"Funds have been buying gold, while short interest remains low ... The gold chart continues to look bullish with prices well placed to break out of a multi-year base," ScotiaMocatta analysts said in a note.

Silver fell 0.1 per cent to US$17.22 an ounce.

Platinum dropped 0.1 per cent to US$1,005, while palladium rose 0.4 per cent at US$1,040.99.

Palladium fell to its lowest since Dec 18 at US$1,013.72 on Thursday and is on track to its worst weekly fall since the week-ending Sept 8, 2017. Prices are down 4.6 per cent this week. It touched a record high at US$1,138 on Jan 15.

REUTERS

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