PRECIOUS-Gold prices move in narrow range as investors await US jobs data


U.S. dollar hovers near 3-month high


Focus on U.S. Feb jobs data due Friday


Gold may bounce to $1,825/oz before falling towards Feb. 28 low - technicals

(Updates prices)

March 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices traded in a tight range on Thursday as some investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of U.S. jobs data that could influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path.

Spot gold was flat at $1,813.20 per ounce, as of 0716 GMT, trading in a $5 range, after hitting its lowest since Feb. 28 on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,816.70.

Gold is considered a hedge against inflation, but interest rate hikes to control rising prices make non-yielding bullion less attractive.

“The (gold) market has been muted ... the market is still trying to digest where the Fed will go after Powell mentioned the final interest rates might be higher than initially expected,” said Brian Lan, managing director at Singapore-based dealer GoldSilver Central.

Fed Chair Powell on Wednesday reaffirmed his message of higher and potentially faster interest rate hikes, but emphasized that debate was still underway with a decision hinging on data to be issued before the U.S. central bank’s policy meeting in two weeks.

Markets are now pricing in a 50-basis point hike at the Fed’s March 21-22 policy meeting.

“Gold traders are waiting for the non-farm payroll report on Friday before we see any major repositioning,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

The U.S. jobs report is expected to show non-farm payrolls increased by 205,000 in February, according to economists polled by Reuters.

Private employment increased by 242,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP National Employment report, while separate data on Wednesday showed U.S. job openings fell less than expected in January.

The dollar index was near a three-month high, making bullion less affordable for overseas buyers.

Gold may bounce again to $1,825 per ounce before turning around and falling towards its Feb. 28 low of $1,804.02, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Spot silver was flat at $20.00 per ounce, platinum was unchanged at $937.43, while palladium lost 0.9% to $1,361.13.

Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sonia Cheema