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PRECIOUS-Gold jumps 2% as dollar slips, but set for quarterly fall

(Updates prices)

* Gold set for both monthly and quarterly declines

* U.S. dollar slips from one-year high after employment data

* U.S. weekly jobless claims increase

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose more than 2% on Thursday after the dollar fell on dismal U.S. weekly jobs numbers, but recent declines driven by expectations the Federal Reserve will soon start tapering its economic support kept bullion on track for a quarterly drop.

Spot gold was up 1.7% at $1,755.56 per ounce by 1:32 p.m. EDT (1732 GMT), after rising 2.2% to a one-week high earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures settled up 2% at $1,757.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, data showed on Thursday, which could raise concerns the labour market was softening.

“This is also leading to uncertainty about Fed tapering because they want a strong job market to announce a tapering,” independent consultant Robin Bhar said, adding that any delay could be positive for gold.

Gold is also “running into some renewed physical buying, with some investors looking to hedge against the economic uncertainty, rising inflation,” Bhar said.

But heightened prospects for Fed tapering, widely expected to start in November, and chances of Treasury yields continuing to gain, are expected to heap more pressure on zero-yielding gold, said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity.

Reduced central bank stimulus and interest rate increases tend to push government bond yields higher, raising the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.

“A firmer U.S. dollar and higher yields are a toxic combination for gold,” Commerzbank said in a note.

“In the short term, the risk of a further price slide predominates, meaning that the $1,700 mark could already be reached soon,” the bank said. “As long as gold remains under pressure, silver is also likely to find it difficult to get out of the defensive.”

Silver rose nearly 2.5% to $22.04 per ounce, but was set for a fourth consecutive monthly fall.

Platinum gained 1.3% to $962.61, while palladium was up 2.4% at $1,901.41. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad; Editing by David Clarke and Shailesh Kuber)

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