April 8, 2019 / 4:27 AM / in 15 days

CORRECTED-PRECIOUS-Gold prices hit one-week high as dollar turns lower

(Corrects analyst’s second name and firm’s name in paragraph 10, fixes garbled Reuters Instrument Codes in text)

* Gold specs cut net long positions in week to April 2

* SPDR gold holdings fell 3 percent last week

* Platinum hits its highest since May 31 at $912.90/oz

* FOMC’s March policy meeting minutes due on Wednesday

By K. Sathya Narayanan

April 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose to a more-than-one-week peak on Monday as the dollar slipped after data showed U.S. wage growth slowed last month, while investors awaited minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s March meeting later this week.

Spot gold gained 0.4 percent to $1,296.87 per ounce by 0746 GMT, after touching its highest since March 29 at $1,297.86 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures were also up 0.4 percent at $1,301 an ounce.

“The dollar index is pulling back from multi-week highs and gold prices are riding this tailwind of softer dollar,” said Margaret Yang, a market analyst with CMC Markets, Singapore.

“Though the non-farm payrolls data was better than expected, the manufacturing jobs fell which is a bad signal for the sector and doesn’t show a very bright picture of the economic outlook.”

The dollar was down 0.1 percent against key rivals as U.S. Treasury yields extended their decline after the U.S. jobs report signalled a slowdown in wage growth even as employment accelerated from a 17-month low in March.

The data on Friday also showed job cuts in the manufacturing sector, the first decline in factory payrolls since July 2017.

A softer dollar makes gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

The moderation in wage growth supported the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to abandon any interest rate hikes this year.

“But ultimately the wild card remains the U.S.-China trade negotiations,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading and market strategy at SPI Asset Management, adding that the equity markets will spike on news of an agreement, denting the near-term appeal of gold.

U.S. and Chinese negotiators are scheduled to resume discussions this week to try to secure a pact to end the year-long tit-for-tat tariff battle.

Asian shares were trading near a seven-month peak briefly touched earlier in the session, limiting bullion’s gains.

A rally in equity markets has led investors to cut their exposure to gold recently, analysts said.

Speculators slashed their bullish wagers in COMEX gold in the week to April 2, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

Holding’s in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, also fell as much as 3 percent in the previous week, its biggest weekly percentage decline since end-November 2016.

Among other precious metals, spot platinum was last up 1.6 percent at $908.95 an ounce, after touching its more-than-ten-month high of $912.90 earlier in the session.

Palladium slipped 0.2 percent to $1,366.76, while silver gained 0.4 percent to $15.14. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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