August 2, 2019 / 3:41 PM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies, on course for weekly gain as dollar eases on U.S. data

* Palladium falls 1.5%

* Platinum, silver set for first weekly decline in four weeks (Updates prices)

By Diptendu Lahiri

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Friday in seesaw trade as the dollar retreated on lackluster U.S. jobs data, putting bullion on course to notch its best week in six weeks following a surge of more than 2% in the previous session as U.S.-China trade relations soured further.

Spot gold was steady at $1,444.86 per ounce at 01:41 p.m. EDT (1741 GMT), retracing earlier declines of about 1%. The yellow metal is up nearly 2% so far this week.

U.S. gold futures settled 1.8% higher at $1,457.50.

Gold has been supported by a “big push by global major central banks to lower interest rates in light of deteriorating macro conditions,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.

“The one thing restraining gold a little was the strength in the dollar, but with the dollar weaker today, it seems to have opened up some running room for gold on the upside.”

Bullion rose more than 2% on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would slap an extra 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports and would raise it further if trade talks do not progress.

“(It’s) a bit of a psychological move. Prices have been around these levels ($1,440-$1,450/oz) a few times now, and it has difficulty to push higher, which makes investors a bit more nervous,” ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said.

Data pointing to slow U.S. job growth in July, coupled with an escalation in trade tensions, could give the Federal Reserve fresh ammunition to cut interest rates again next month.

“The trend in gold is up,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Lower interest rates tend to boost gold as they reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and also weigh on the dollar.

Spot gold may retest resistance at $1,449 per ounce, a break above which could lead to a rise into the $1,461-$1,474 per ounce range, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Separately, palladium fell 1.5 % to $1,403.41 per ounce, after breaking below the $1,400 level for the first time since mid-June to its lowest in more than seven weeks at $1,378.50.

Platinum was up 0.3% at $846.30 per ounce, while silver fell 0.4% to $16.26 per ounce.

“The scenario is slightly more complicated for silver, as the component of the demand for this metal coming from the industrial sector is much higher than gold and the trade war could have a more significant impact,” Carlo Alberto De Casa, chief analyst, ActivTrades, said in a client note.

Both silver and platinum appeared set for their first weekly decline in four weeks.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri, Nallur Sethuraman and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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