PRECIOUS-Gold set for weekly drop amid rate rise worries


Gold down over 1% this week


Platinum set for biggest weekly fall since November


U.S. February payrolls data due at 1330 GMT

(Updates prices)

March 10 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Friday but were on track for a weekly fall as prospects of further interest rate hikes dented its allure, while traders awaited a U.S. non-farm payrolls report due later in the day.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,834.92 per ounce, as of 1215 GMT. Prices have fallen more than 1% this week. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,838.40.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week suggested higher and possibly faster interest rate rises would be needed to curb inflation.

Powell showed determination to control stubbornly high inflation, saying that rates would be likely to rise faster and reach higher than previously expected, a scenario that creates downside for gold, Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades, said.

Bullion is known as an inflation hedge, but rising rates increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset.

“The yellow metal has strong technical support near $1,810-$1,790 an ounce and we may see a bounce back to $1,875 next week,” said Jigar Trivedi, an analyst with Mumbai-based Reliance Securities.

Investor focus shifts to U.S. non-farm payrolls data due at 1330 GMT for further clues on the Fed’s rate-hike path. The report is expected to show non-farm payrolls increased by 205,000 in February, according to economists polled by Reuters.

If the data is weak, then gold could benefit and might rise to the $1,850-$1,860 range, said Carlo Alberto De Casa, external analyst at Kinesis Money.

The dollar index slipped 0.1%, but was on course for a weekly gain. A stronger U.S. currency tends to make gold a less attractive bet.

Spot silver gained 0.3% at $20.13 ounce but was on track for a weekly fall of more than 5%.

Platinum shed 0.7% to $937.91 and was set for its biggest weekly decline since November 2022. Palladium lost 0.7% to $1,379.05. (Reporting by Arpan Varghese and Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel, Shounak Dasgupta and Uttaresh Venkateshwaran)