May 4, 2018 / 1:33 AM / 20 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady ahead of U.S. payrolls data

    BENGALURU, May 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed
on Friday as investors awaited key U.S. jobs data due later in
the day, while the dollar held steady after declining from 2018
highs hit earlier this week.

    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,311.61 per
ounce at 0113 GMT, and on track for a third consecutive weekly
decline. 
    * U.S. gold futures         for June delivery were flat at 
$1,312.50 per ounce.
    * The dollar index        was little changed at 92.449,
while Asian shares were steady on Friday.                   
    * The focus for markets will be on the U.S. jobs data, with
the April report likely to underscore labour market strength.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls
likely increased by 192,000 jobs in April after rising 103,000
in March.
    * U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised his
relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as officials from
the world's two largest economies began trade talks in Beijing,
while state media said China would stand up to U.S. bullying.
            
    * Iran's foreign minister said on Thursday U.S. demands to
change its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers were
unacceptable as a deadline set by Trump for Europeans to "fix"
the deal loomed.             
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.13 percent to
865.60 tonnes on Thursday from 866.77 tonnes on Wednesday.
            
    * Gold demand posted its weakest start to the year in a
decade, the World Gold Council said on Thursday, as prices of
the metal stagnated and the threat of rising interest rates led
investors to seek better returns elsewhere.             
    * Indian gold demand may improve through to December as
positive monsoon rains and government efforts to raise farmer
incomes could boost rural purchases enough to offset higher
prices because of the weak rupee, the World Gold Council (WGC)
said.             
    * South African gold producers agreed a 5 billion rand ($400
million) class action settlement on Thursday with law firms
representing thousands of miners who contracted the fatal lung
diseases silicosis and tuberculosis, officials said on Thursday.
            
    * Mine operator Sibanye-Stillwater          said five of 13
miners trapped underground in a South African gold mine were
rescued but one of the five had died.             

    
        
    DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)
     0145  China          Caixin services PMI          Apr
     0645  France         Trade data                   Mar
     0750  France         Markit services PMI          Apr
     0755  Germany        Markit services PMI          Apr
     0800  Euro zone      Markit services PMI final    Apr
     0900  Euro zone      Retail sales                 Mar
     1230  U.S.           Nonfarm payrolls             Apr
     1230  U.S.           Unemployment rate            Apr

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
Dwarakanath)
  
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