January 5, 2018 / 4:08 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips ahead of US jobs data, but set for 4th week of gains

    * Spot gold has risen over 1 pct so far this week
    * U.S. non-farm payrolls data due Friday
    * Palladium off record highs hit on Thursday

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    Jan 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices dipped on Friday from the
previous session's 3-1/2 month high, ahead of U.S. non-farm
payroll data, but remained on track for their fourth straight
weekly gain.
    Spot gold        was down 0.3 percent at $1,318.40 an ounce
at 0655 GMT. U.S. gold futures         were down 0.2 percent at
$1,319.10 an ounce. 
    Spot gold marked its highest since Sept. 15 at $1,325.86 on
Thursday on a weaker dollar. It has risen over 1 percent so far
this week.
    Weighed down by the greenback's weakness against the euro,
the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was
poised for a loss of 0.2 percent this week, during which it
probed a three-month low of 91.751       .       
    The dollar index was last up 0.1 percent at 91.946.
    "The support for the gold continues to emerge on dips," said
MKS PAMP trader Alex Thorndike, adding that the market would be
in "wait and see mode" ahead of the U.S. jobs data.
    U.S. private employers added 250,000 jobs in December, data
from ADP Research Institute showed, the biggest monthly increase
since March. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast a gain
of 190,000 jobs.             
    Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls report is expected to show
job gains of 190,000 for December, according to a Reuters
    Softer economic data weakens the case for a U.S. rate hike,
boosting gold, which is highly exposed to interest rates and
returns on other assets. Rising rates lift the opportunity cost
of holding non-yielding bullion.
    "There are some new long-positions after gold crossed $1,300
and they are trying to push prices up ... We can see people
buying at corrections," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee
Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
    "The dollar will be the key to gold's moves going forward
... Markets are waiting for more clues on the pace of the
interest rate hikes and how the tax reforms are going to help
the U.S. economy."
    Among other precious metals, spot palladium        was
steady at $1,097.40 after hitting a record-high on Thursday at
    Palladium's price jumped 56 percent last year on fears of a
shortage fueled by Chinese car sales growth, tightening
emissions controls and a swing away from diesel cars in Europe. 
    Spot silver        was down 0.4 percent at $17.17, after
touching its highest in over six weeks at $17.27 in the previous
    Spot platinum        rose 0.2 percent to $961.30 an ounce.
It hit a 3 1/2-month peak at $965.40 on Thursday.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Sunil Nair)
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