March 12, 2018 / 4:14 AM / 11 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches lower as equities rally after U.S. jobs data

    * Spot gold may revisit March 9 low of $1,312.99/oz -
    * Investors see aggressive rate hike concerns ease

 (Adds trader comment, updates prices)
    By Eileen Soreng
    March 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched down on Monday
pressured by a stronger equity market, with the latest U.S. jobs
report easing fears of inflation and faster U.S. rate hikes,
reviving risk appetite globally.
    Spot gold        edged lower 0.1 percent to $1,322.10 per
ounce at 0734 GMT. U.S. gold futures         for April delivery
fell 0.1 percent to $1,322.60 per ounce.
    "A rally in stocks has taken some shine from the precious
metals ... Not much fund is flowing into gold," said a Hong
Kong-based trader.
    Inflation worries faded after U.S. data on Friday showed
nonfarm payrolls jumped by 313,000 jobs last month, but annual
growth in average hourly earnings slowed to 2.6 percent after a
spike in January.             
    A relief rally swept across Asian share markets on Monday in
the wake of the jobs report.             
    Money market traders stuck to bets that the U.S. Federal
Reserve would raise interest rates three times this year, with
only around a one-in-four chance seen for a fourth rate hike in
    "The labour report that we saw in the U.S. on Friday has
spilled over into this week ... Slowdown in the growth of wages
last month has certainly eased concerns about more aggressive
rate hikes," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.
    Inflation concerns generally boost gold, which is seen as a
safe-haven against rising prices. But expectations the Fed could
raise interest rates to fight inflation make gold less
attractive because it is not interest-yielding.
    "We still are somewhat wary on gold short-term as we suspect
that the precious metal will struggle on account of a stronger
dollar, which we expect to start perking up as we head closer to
the (next) Fed meeting," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said
in a note. The central bank is due to meet from March 20.
    Spot gold may revisit its March 9 low of $1,312.99 per
ounce, as suggested by a double-top and a retracement analysis, 
according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.             
    Meanwhile, speculators raised their net long position in
gold by 4,178 contracts to 161,812 contracts, Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed.             
    Among other precious metals, silver        was down 0.3
percent at $16.55 per ounce.
    Palladium        was 0.2 percent lower at $993.40 per ounce,
while platinum        fell 0.1 percent to $963.40 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Gopakumar Warrier)
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