Gold slips from 1-month high ahead of US jobs data

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Gold on Friday slipped from the one-month high touched in the previous session on a surge in dollar, with traders waiting for US jobs data later in the day for clues on the pace of possible US interest rate hikes this year.
Spot gold eased 0.3 per cent to $1,176.36 per ounce by 0543 GMT. The metal on Thursday hit its highest since Dec. 5 at $1,184.90.
US gold futures were down 0.4 per cent, at $1,177 per ounce.
“We can see a bit of profit-taking ahead of the nonfarm payroll data,” said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
US services sector activity held at a one-year high in December as new orders surged, while the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell near a 43-year-low last week, suggesting the economy ended 2016 with strong momentum.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was up 0.2 per cent at 101.680.
Investors are focused on Friday’s US nonfarm payrolls report, with economists expecting job gains of 178,000 in December.
US Fed has indicated that it would press ahead with further interest rate hikes this year after its second rate increase in a decade last month.
Positive data usually puts pressure on gold prices, because investors raise bets on a US interest rate hike that would increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Spot gold failed to break a resistance at $1,182 per ounce and it may either hover below this level or retrace to a support at $1,159, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
“The charts look a bit weak on the daily side and prices might come down to the around $1,160,” said Brian Lan, managing director at Singapore-based gold dealer GoldSilver Central.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.03 per cent to 813.59 tonnes on Thursday from Wednesday. They have fallen over 14 per cent since the US presidential election in November.

Among other precious metals, spot silver fell 0.8 per cent to $16.42. Silver hit a high of $16.71, its best since Dec. 15, in the prior session.
Platinum was down 0.9 per cent at $959.24. It touched a near 8-week high of $975.80 in the prior session.
Palladium was down nearly 0.3 per cent at $736.72, after hitting a 4-week high of $747.80 on Thursday. Palladium has gained 8.6 per cent this week, its best since the week ending July 1.
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