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Gold set for biggest weekly loss this year before US payrolls

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[SINGAPORE] Gold traded near the lowest level in four months and is on course for the biggest weekly loss this year as positive US jobless data and comments from Federal Reserve policy makers lifted the odds of a US interest rate increase, buoying the US dollar.

Bullion for immediate delivery was 0.4 per cent higher at US$1,259.26 an ounce at 9:31am Singapore time, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal fell one per cent to close at US$1,254.38 on Thursday, the lowest since June 7, and is down 4.3 per cent this week, the most since the period to Nov 6.

Gold has tumbled as traders see increasing odds for higher US borrowing costs, damping the appeal of non-interest bearing bullion.

Filings for US unemployment benefits fell last week to the second-lowest level since 1973, data showed Thursday, spurring optimism Friday's payrolls report will reinforce the picture of a strong labour market.

This week, Fed Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker urged the central bank to raise rates.