February 2, 2018 / 3:51 AM / 8 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold flat ahead of U.S. jobs data

    * Spot gold seen rising to $1,357/oz -technicals
    * Palladium heading for worst week since week-ending Sept.
8, 2017
    * U.S. nonfarm payrolls data due 1330 GMT

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    Feb 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices held in a narrow range on
Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data later in the day, with traders
looking for any implications for the outlook for U.S. monetary
policy over the rest of the year.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,348.66 per ounce
by 0758 GMT. 
    U.S. gold futures         were up 0.3 percent at $1,351.60
per ounce.
    Traders are looking to the U.S. government's jobs report on
Friday. Nonfarm payrolls probably rose by 180,000 jobs in
January after increasing 148,000 in December, according to a
Reuters survey of economists. The unemployment rate is forecast
to be unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.
    Stronger-than-expected jobs data, lower unemployment and
higher wages would signal strength in the economy, and could in
turn strengthen the dollar and pressure gold, analysts say.
    "All eyes on the non farm payrolls numbers tonight, a figure
outside the consensus forecast could rattle the markets where
volatility has already crept in over the last week or so," MKS
PAMP Group trader Tim Brown said.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged on
Wednesday but raised its inflation outlook and flagged "further
gradual" rate increases.             
    "The rate hikes seem to be doing little to dampen the
relative resilience on display in gold," said INTL FCStone
analyst Edward Meir.
    Spot gold is expected to rise to $1,357 per ounce, as it has
broken above resistance at $1,347, according to Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao.             
     The dollar nursed losses against a basket of currencies on
Friday and was on track for a weekly fall as investors focused
on renewed economic strength in the eurozone.       
    "Funds have been buying gold, while short interest remains
low ... The gold chart continues to look bullish with prices
well placed to break out of a multi-year base," ScotiaMocatta
analysts said in a note.
    Silver        fell 0.1 percent to $17.22 an ounce.
    Platinum        dropped 0.1 percent to $1,005, while
palladium        rose 0.4 percent at $1,040.99. 
    Palladium fell to its lowest since Dec. 18 at $1,013.72 on
Thursday and is on track to its worst weekly fall since the
week-ending Sept. 8, 2017. Prices are down 4.6 percent this
week. It touched a record high at $1,138 on Jan. 15.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Amrutha Gayathri)
  
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