October 4, 2019 / 2:14 AM / 12 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on soft U.S. service sector data, focus on jobs report

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose for a fourth straight session on Friday as weak U.S. service sector survey deepened concerns over economic growth and bolstered bets of further rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, with markets awaiting nonfarm payrolls data.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,508.12 per ounce, as of 0132 GMT. It climbed to $1,518.50, its highest since Sept. 25 in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,513.9 an ounce.

* The dollar stepped back after a soft U.S. service sector survey stoked worries that pressure from U.S. trade disputes with China and other countries could spill over into the broader U.S. economy and tip it into a recession.

* Asian stocks edged higher on Friday, thanks to gains on Wall Street, but the mood was cautious before a key U.S. job report that could help determine whether the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates further.

* U.S. nonfarm employment report is due at 1230 GMT. According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 145,000 jobs last month after rising by 130,000 in August.

* U.S. services sector activity slowed to a three-year low in September amid rising concerns about tariffs, a survey showed on Thursday, suggesting that trade tensions were spilling over to the broader economy.

* Two Fed policymakers on Thursday signalled they are open to delivering another rate cut after a report showed the growth in the vast U.S. services sector is slowing, but the Fed’s No. 2, speaking late in the day, gave little away on his own thinking.

* Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar.

* New 25% U.S. tariffs on Italian cheese, French wine, Scotch whisky, British biscuits, Spanish olives and thousands of other European food products will lead to higher prices ahead of the holiday season and cost American jobs, trade groups said on Thursday.

* Euro zone business growth stalled in September as an ongoing contraction in manufacturing activity is increasingly affecting the services industry, according to a survey which showed little chance of an improvement this month.

* The European Union and Ireland said on Thursday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals were unlikely to yield a deal, with Dublin bluntly warning that Britain was heading towards a no-deal exit unless it made more concessions.

* Gold is considered a safe store of value during economic and political uncertainty.

* Palladium is likely to rise still higher after growing demand from automakers and a gaping supply shortfall pushed prices to record levels above $1,700 an ounce this week, analysts said. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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