SINGAPORE, April 5 Gold steadied on Friday but
held near its weakest since May last year as investors waited
for key U.S. jobs data for more clues on the health of the
world's largest economy, while a drop in ETF holdings dragged on
* Gold was little changed at $1,553.56 an ounce by
0033 GMT, still heading for a second week of decline. It fell to
1,539.74 on Thursday, its lowest in 10 months, as unprecedented
monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan and hopes for another
European Central Bank rate cut failed to stem heavy selling.
* Investors will scrutinise Friday's U.S. employment data
for more signals on the strength of that economy. A strong
report could hurt gold, making it easier for the U.S. Federal
Reserve to end stimulus measures that have made some investors
worry about inflation in the world's biggest economy.
* Bullion holdings at the world's major gold exchange traded
funds fell to their lowest since August 2012
* After two years of losses, hedge fund manager John
Paulson's best-known funds got off to a better start in 2013.
His gold fund, however, notched double digit losses during the
first three months of 2013.
* Gold is gearing up for the start of a bear market cycle in
2014 after more than a decade of gains as consumer demand for
jewellery, coins and bars declines and central bank buying
plateaus, metals consultancy GFMS said.
* U.S. gold for June delivery was at $1,553.70 an
ounce, up $1.30.
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* Japanese equities soared and the yen continued its tumble
against the dollar and the euro on Friday in the wake of
Thursday's policy decisions by the BOJ, but Asian shares eased
ahead of the U.S. jobs data.
0900 Euro zone Retail sales
1000 Germany Industrial orders
1230 U.S. Nonfarm payrolls
1230 U.S. Unemployment rate
1230 U.S. International trade
Precious metals prices 0033 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume
Spot Gold 1553.56 0.85 +0.05 -7.22
Spot Silver 26.91 0.02 +0.07 -11.13
Spot Platinum 1531.99 11.99 +0.79 -0.20
Spot Palladium 725.37 1.37 +0.19 4.82
COMEX GOLD JUN3 1553.70 1.30 +0.08 -7.29 2974
COMEX SILVER MAY3 26.88 0.11 +0.42 -11.08 526
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Joseph Radford)