PRECIOUS-Gold heads for 3rd weekly gain; US jobs data eyed

Fri Jun 7, 2013 3:40am EDT

* Gold headed for weekly gain of about 2 percent
    * Dollar slips, Asian shares at 2013 lows 
    * Coming up: U.S. nonfarm payrolls at 1230 GMT

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, June 7 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on
Friday, on track for their third straight weekly gain, as
investors awaited U.S. jobs data for clues on whether the
Federal Reserve would hold to its bullion-supporting stimulus
programme.
    A weak reading on U.S. nonfarm payrolls, due later in the
day, would likely prompt the Fed to continue its $85 billion
monthly bond purchases to support the economy. That would help
gold, typically seen as a hedge against inflation.
    "Investors are expecting the Fed to come out and say that
they will continue with the monetary easing because many believe
that the nonfarm payroll will not be as good as expected," said
Brian Lan, managing director of bullion dealer GoldSilver
Central Pte Ltd in Singapore. 
    Spot gold was little changed at $1,413.35 an ounce by
0715 GMT, after climbing about 0.7 percent on Thursday as the
dollar fell sharply against the yen and the euro. 
    U.S. job growth probably picked up only slightly in May,
according to a Reuters survey of economists, suggesting the
economy is still in a rut and not strong enough for the Fed to
dial back its monetary support. 
    Data from Thursday showed that though new claims for
unemployment benefits fell last week, the improvement in labour
market conditions lacked vigour. 
    "The housing and labour markets are not very strong yet. The
Fed has to keep in mind the impact on stock markets as well,"
Lan said.
    Investors may have over reacted recently to the possibility
of the Fed winding down its stimulus, a top U.S. central bank
official said on Thursday. 
    U.S. bond and stock markets abruptly sold off on May 22 when
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told a congressional committee that
bond purchases could be reduced "in the next few meetings" of
the Fed's policy committee if the economy continues to improve. 
    Gold is heading for a weekly gain of about 2 percent, after
recovering from a loss early in the week on fears of slowing
demand in India.
    India is trying to curb gold imports to reduce its current
account deficit. The world's biggest bullion consumer announced
another hike in its import duty for gold, prompting a slow down
in physical demand. 
    Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.3 percent to 1,007.74
tonnes on Thursday, as outflows resumed after holding steady
nearly a week. Holdings are at four-year lows. 
 
    
 Precious metals prices 0715 GMT
 Metal              Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
 Spot Gold        1413.35   0.20   +0.01    -15.60
 Spot Silver        22.71   0.12   +0.53    -25.00
 Spot Platinum    1532.49   5.99   +0.39     -0.16
 Spot Palladium    756.22  -2.50   -0.33      9.28
 COMEX GOLD AUG3  1413.10  -2.70   -0.19    -15.68        19525
 COMEX SILVER JUL3  --       --       --      -- 
 Euro/Dollar       1.3246
 Dollar/Yen         96.79
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Ed Davies and Tom
Hogue)
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