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Gold trades near one-week low as investors cut fund holdings

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Gold traded above a one-week low as investors cut holdings in bullion-backed funds to the lowest in a month before US jobs data. Palladium fell for the first time in eight days.

[LONDON] Gold traded above a one-week low as investors cut holdings in bullion-backed funds to the lowest in a month before US jobs data. Palladium fell for the first time in eight days.

Holdings in exchange-traded products fell for a fifth day, declining by 1.8 metric tons to 1,667.9 tons, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Assets have fallen since reaching the highest since October last week.

A private report from the ADP Research Institute Wednesday may show US companies added more workers to payrolls in February, while the Labor Department will release jobs data on March 6. Signs of a stronger US economy have backed the case for higher interest rates, curbing gold's appeal as the metal generally gives returns only through price gains.

"Any improvement on the last payrolls reading or any signs that the US recovery is gaining pace is probably negative for gold," Jonathan Butler, a precious metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corp International (Europe) Plc in London, said by phone.

Gold for April delivery was little changed at US$1,203.90 an ounce by 7:54 am on the Comex in New York. It reached US$1,194.60 on Tuesday, the lowest value since Feb 24. Bullion for immediate delivery rose 0.1 per cent to US$1,204.78, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

Futures trading volumes in New York were 41 per cent below the average for the past 100 days for this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Silver for May delivery was little changed at US$16.30 in New York, after falling to the lowest in almost two months Tuesday. Platinum futures declined 0.7 per cent to US$1,181.20 an ounce. Palladium retreated 0.7 per cent to US$826.20 an ounce. It climbed 6.5 per cent in the previous seven days in the longest run since October.

BLOOMBERG