April 7, 2017 / 1:21 AM / 8 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold treads water ahead of U.S. jobs data

    April 7 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Friday, after
dipping 0.3 percent in the prior session on a firm dollar, as
investors waited for the release of key U.S. non-farm payroll
data later in the day.
      
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was flat at $1,251.06 per ounce by 0052
GMT. U.S. gold futures         were also little changed at
$1,252.90.
    * Spot gold was set for its fourth straight week of gains,
on track for a weekly rise of less than half a percent.
    * Gold was pressured on Thursday as new applications for
U.S. unemployment benefits last week recorded their biggest drop
in nearly two years.             
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 100.730.
    * Investors will watch out for March U.S. non-farm payrolls
data on Friday, which analysts say could be key for the
short-term direction of the gold market.
    * According to a Reuters survey of economists, non-farm
payrolls likely increased by 180,000 jobs last month after
rising 235,000 in February. Strong job gains will likely add
upward pressure on wages, supporting higher interest rates.
    * Investors were also anxious over Friday's meeting between
U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi
Jinping, who met face-to-face for the first time on Thursday.
            
    * It would make sense if the U.S. economy continues to grow
for the Federal Reserve to begin trimming its $4.5 trillion
balance sheet towards the end of this year, unwinding
extraordinary stimulus deployed during the crisis, John
Williams, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank
said.             
    * The Fed's decision to reduce its massive asset holdings
will set off a complex dance with global investors and the U.S.
Treasury as it tries to put a final end to policies used to
fight the 2007 financial crisis without upending the economy
along the way.             
    * British workers are becoming more reticent about moving
jobs as the process of leaving the European Union gets underway,
exacerbating long-standing skill shortages, a survey of
recruiters showed on Friday.             
    
    
    DATA AHEAD  (GMT)
     0600  Germany      Industrial output          Feb 
     0600  Germany      Trade data                 Feb 
     0645  France       Industrial output          Feb 
     0645  France       Trade data                 Feb 
     0800  China        Forex reserves             Mar 
     0830  Britain      Industrial output          Feb 
     1230  U.S.         Nonfarm payrolls           Mar 
     1230  U.S.         Unemployment rate          Mar 
     1400  U.S.         Wholesale sales            Feb 

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Pullin)
  

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