May 8, 2020 / 9:35 AM / 24 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold at near two-week high ahead of U.S. jobs data

 (Updates prices)
    * Gold up more than 1% so far this week
    * U.S. nonfarm payrolls due at 1230 GMT
    * Payrolls forecast to fall 22 million in April
    * For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread,
 in an external browser

    By Brijesh Patel
    May 8 (Reuters) - Gold hit a near two-week high on Friday as
investors awaited U.S. nonfarm payrolls data for pointers on the
U.S. economy after a batch of weak economic indicators boosted
hopes of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
    Spot gold        was steady at $1,717.52 per ounce by 1202
GMT after hitting its highest since April 27 at $1,722.56.
Bullion has risen more than 1% so far this week.
    U.S. gold futures        rose 0.1% to $1,727.70.
    "Gold market is steady ahead of nonfarm payroll report
today. Overall, initial jobless claims data and the ADP
employment numbers disappointed the market and gold prices
spiked," said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Anand Rathi
Shares and Stock Brokers in Mumbai.
    "Also, there are expectations of negative interest rates
from the U.S. Federal Reserve and another round of stimulus
measures supporting gold prices."
    Gold jumped as much as 2.1% last session after poor economic
readings out of the United States intensified concerns about
global economic growth amid tensions between China and U.S. over
the coronavirus crisis.
    Millions more Americans sought unemployment benefits last
week, with the total number of people who have filed claims
since March 21 rising to about 33.5 million.             
    U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, due at 1230 GMT, are expected to
show the U.S. economy lost 22 million jobs in April and that the
unemployment rate jumped to 16% as people stayed home to halt
the spread of the coronavirus.             
    Federal funds futures         priced in negative U.S.
interest rates for the first time on Thursday, while the Bank of
England kept the door open for more stimulus next month.
    Lower U.S. interest rates put pressure on the dollar and
bond yields, increasing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.
    The dollar index        fell 0.2%, while U.S. Treasury
yields slipped from three-week highs, with the two-year yields
dropping to record lows.             
    "Gold seems like it is ready to run higher as disastrous
economic data will likely only lead to further global monetary
easing," Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at broker OANDA,
said in a note.
    Central banks around the world have cut interest rates,
unveiled unprecedented amounts of stimulus to limit economic
damage caused by the coronavirus, which has infected more than
3.86 million people globally.             
    Palladium        climbed 0.8% to $1,870.84 per ounce and
platinum        gained 0.1% to $764.17, while silver       
eased 0.1% to $15.49.

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Jane
Merriman and Edmund Blair and Kirsten Donovan)
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