January 8, 2014 / 11:19 AM / 7 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold falls 1 pct on upbeat U.S. private-sector job data

* U.S. ADP jobs data beats forecasts, suggests economic growth

* Dollar index rises, pressure gold

* Traders await Fed minutes later Wednesday (Adds comment, second byline, dateline, updates market activities)

By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell about 1 percent for a second day on Wednesday as upbeat U.S. private-sector jobs data boosted the dollar and sparked speculation that the Federal Reserve will continue trimming its monetary stimulus.

Bullion fell after the ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. private employers added a bigger-than-expected 238,000 jobs in December, the strongest increase in 13 months.

Gold was still up over 1 percent in 2014 on equities losses and fund buying related to index rebalancing. The metal lost 28 percent last year for its biggest annual loss in 32 years.

However, a rising interest-rate environment after the Federal Reserve in December announced plans to trim its massive bond-buying plan and an improving U.S. economic outlook could pressure the metal, analysts said.

“The trend for much of the rest of the year is likely to be negative for gold as the positive trend of global economic growth reduces investor fears and eases overall demand relative to cyclical investments,” said Robert Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management’s Private Client Reserve.

Spot gold was down 0.9 percent at $1,220.94 an ounce by 12:33 p.m. EST (1733 GMT).

U.S. Comex gold futures for February delivery were down $9 an ounce at $1,220.60.

The dollar index rose 0.4 percent on Wednesday as the rosy ADP jobs data suggested the recovery in the world’s largest economy gained traction at the end of last year.

Traders will now focus on U.S. non-farm payrolls and trade numbers on Friday, which will be preceded by minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting later on Wednesday.

Friday’s non-farm payrolls are seen as a crucial indicator of the U.S. monetary policy outlook, given that the Fed has explicitly said it will await an improvement in the jobs market before it accelerates stimulus tapering.

Among other precious metals, silver underperformed, falling 2.3 percent to $19.40 an ounce. Platinum edged down 0.3 percent at $1,406.60 an ounce, while palladium was down 0.3 percent at $736.60 an ounce. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Pravin Char, Jane Baird and Marguerita Choy)

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