September 6, 2019 / 5:05 AM / 15 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as upbeat U.S. data dents safe-haven demand

* Gold set for second weekly fall

* Spot gold may test support at $1,496/oz- technicals

* Investors tracking U.S. payrolls report due 1230 GMT (Adds comment, updates prices)

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

Sept 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices remained under pressure on Friday, as robust U.S. data encouraged a return to riskier assets and hit demand for safe-haven bullion, also sending platinum down 3%.

Spot gold was down 0.6% to $1,509.41 per ounce as of 0709 GMT, after shedding 1% to a low of $1,504.30, its lowest since Aug. 23.

U.S. gold futures slid 0.5% to $1,517.90 per ounce.

Upbeat private payrolls and services industry data from the United States sent gold prices plunging 2% on Thursday. The declines put gold on pace for its second straight week of losses.

“Thursday’s data was positive, causing gold prices to reduce. We now expect a lot of volatility in the gold markets,” said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.

Traders now await the monthly U.S. payrolls report due at 1230 GMT for the next snapshot on the labour market’s health.

Risk appetite was also whetted by news that the United States and China had agreed to hold high-level talks early in October that fuelled optimism for substantial progress in de-escalating the long, bitter trade conflict between the two.

“Softer geopolitical overtones from Hong Kong and Brexit further alleviated risk-off sentiments,” Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a note, adding that gold “will remain vigorous over global recessionary fears, heightened geopolitical risks and dovish U.S. monetary policy in Q3.”

Gold has jumped about 18% this year as the bruising trade war has sparked fears of a global economic slowdown and encouraged interest rate cuts by major central banks around the world.

“Gold is still seen as a safe haven asset. A correction is bound to happen.” GoldSilver Central’s Lan said.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.2%, putting it on track for a 2% weekly gain - which would make it the best week since mid-June.

Spot gold may test support at $1,496 per ounce, a break below which could cause a further fall to $1,453, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Other precious metals dipped along with gold, with silver down 1.4% to $18.37 per ounce, after slumping 4.8% in the previous session. The metal, which on Wednesday hit its highest since September 2016, remained on track to end the week higher.

Palladium fell 0.7% to $1,548.94, dropping after three straight days of gains.

Meanwhile, platinum dropped 3% to $928.25 an ounce. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Uttaresh.V)

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