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PRECIOUS-Gold steadies after U.S. payrolls data
February 3, 2017 / 10:41 AM / 10 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies after U.S. payrolls data

* Gold heads for weekly rise of around 2 pct
    * Dollar briefly eases, Treasury yields slip after U.S. data
    * GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns:

 (Updates throughout; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK
    By Marcy Nicholson and Jan Harvey
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed
on Friday, erasing earlier losses as the dollar came under
pressure from a U.S. payrolls report that flagged up weak wage
growth last month, weakening the case for near-term interest
rate hikes.
    While U.S. job growth surged more than expected in January
as construction firms and retailers ramped up hiring, wages
barely rose. 
    Spot gold was unchanged at $1,215.75 an ounce by 2:25
p.m. EST (1925 GMT), off an earlier low of $1,207.10. U.S. gold
futures for April delivery settled up 0.1 percent at
$1,220.80 per ounce. 
    "Markets seem to be looking at the soft wage data, which
signal rather weak inflationary pressure, and therefore less
need for the Fed to raise interest rates," Commerzbank analyst
Carsten Fritsch told the Reuters Global Gold Forum in the wake
of the report.
    The U.S. dollar and 10-year U.S. Treasury yields
 were little changed, having come off session highs.
    Gold is on track to rise around 2 percent this week as the
dollar headed for a fourth weekly drop on worries about Donald
Trump's presidential style and a lack of clarity on rate hikes.
    The yellow metal is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest
rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which it is
    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Shares, rose for a second day on Thursday
by 1.5 tonnes to 811.22 tonnes. 
    A bounce in investment to a four-year high drove a modest
gain in gold demand last year, data from the World Gold Council
showed on Friday, even as use of the metal in jewelry slid to
its lowest since 2009 and coin and bar buying slid. 
    "ETF inflows were the sole driver of demand growth in 2016 -
we saw the second highest inflows since 2009," the WGC's head of
market intelligence Alistair Hewitt said. 
    Spot palladium was 1.5 percent lower at $745.75.
    "Technical analysis still look bullish for the white metal,"
said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal
Management in New York.
    "But the lack of liquidity and concerns that China, due to
its pollution problem, may direct the auto sector towards
electric vehicles looms in the shadows."
    Silver was down 0.2 percent at $17.40, having reached
its highest in more than 11 weeks at $17.73 in the previous
    Platinum was down 0.4 percent at $995.85, having hit
a 12-week high of $1,011.60 on Thursday.

 (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman and Arpan Varghese
in Bengaluru; Editing by Jane Merriman and Chizu Nomiyama)

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