Gold heads for first weekly drop in four ahead of U.S. jobs data

An employee puts gold bullions into a safe deposit box at Degussa shop in Singapore

Edgar Su | Reuters

Gold prices were on track for their first weekly fall in four after the dollar firmed, although they traded steadily on Friday ahead of a key U.S. jobs data to gauge the potential of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve as early as March.

Spot gold edged 0.2% higher to $2,031.31 per ounce by 0419 GMT. Bullion, however, fell nearly 2% for the week so far. U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $2,048.00.

Bullion scaled an all-time peak of $2,135.40 on Monday on elevated bets for a rate cut by the U.S. Fed, before dropping more than $100 on uncertainty over the cut’s timing.

The dollar index was on track to snap a third straight weekly loss, making greenback-priced gold more expensive for other currency holders.

Gold remains well-supported above $2,006 per ounce level, but a stronger-than-expected payrolls data could put this support level in jeopardy, said Kelvin Wong, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA.

Data this week suggested that the U.S. labor market was gradually losing momentum as higher borrowing costs curb demand in the broader economy.

Traders now look forward to U.S. non-farm payrolls report for November due at 1330 GMT, which expected to show that employers added 180,000 jobs last month.

Markets were pricing in a 65% chance of a rate cut as soon as March, CME’s FedWatch Tool showed, but a Reuters poll saw rates unchanged until at least July.

Lower interest rates tend to support non-interest-bearing bullion.

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $2,019 to $2,039 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Spot silver rose 0.2% to $23.84 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.7% to $913.40 and palladium also inched 0.7% higher to $975.88 per ounce.

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