PRECIOUS-Gold set for weekly drop; all eyes on U.S. jobs report

Fri Dec 6, 2013 1:58am EST

* Gold on track for 2 percent weekly decline
    * Indian gold premiums hit a record
    * Coming up: Nonfarm payrolls at 1330 GMT

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Friday after
choppy trading in the previous session and was headed for a
weekly decline as improving U.S. economic data raised fears of
an early end to monetary stimulus. 
    Investors are now awaiting U.S. non-farm payroll data, due
to be released at 1330 GMT, which could provide more clues on
the timing of the tapering of stimulus measures in the world's
largest economy.
    "The jobs report today is a crucial catalyst for any upside
or downside in gold prices going forward," said Helen Lau, an
analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Securities in Hong Kong.
    Given recent drops in gold prices, most of the expectations
for a December tapering have already been priced in and a strong
report would not see prices fall dramatically, Lau said. 
    A weaker jobs report would have more of an impact on prices
than a stronger one, analysts said. Nonfarm payrolls are
expected to have increased by 180,000 last month, according to a
Reuters survey of economists. 
    Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,228.09 an ounce by
0648 GMT. The metal is headed for a 2 percent weekly drop after
falling to five-month lows earlier in the week. 
    Prices fell by as much as 2 percent on Thursday after data
showed the U.S. economy grew faster than initially estimated in
the third quarter. 
    The U.S. Federal Reserve has tied a tapering of its
bond-buying programme to an improvement in the labour market.
Gold prices have benefited from the $85 billion monthly bond
purchases which burnish the metal's appeal as a hedge against
    In the physical market, Indian gold premiums hit a record
$160 an ounce on Thursday, as the wedding season fuelled demand
while supplies remained low. 
    Premiums in other parts of Asia remained stable, as lower
prices failed to trigger a surge in demand. 
    PRICES AT 0648 GMT     
 Metal               Last       Change    Pct chg   YTD pct chg
 Spot gold             1228.09      3.59      0.29        -26.66
 Spot silver             19.47      0.14      0.72         -35.7
 Spot platinum         1355.75     -2.24     -0.16        -11.68
 Spot palladium          730.6     -1.53     -0.21          5.58
 Comex gold Dec3        1228.1      -3.8     -0.31        -26.72
 Comex silver Dec3      19.475    -0.095     -0.49        -35.75
 Euro                   1.3657                                  
 DXY                    80.382                                  
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Miral Fahmy and
Anupama Dwivedi)
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