January 9, 2015 / 3:30 AM / 6 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firm ahead of U.S. jobs data, poised for weekly gain

* Gold up 2 pct in week, snaps 3-week losing streak
    * Safe-haven bids, Chinese demand supporting prices
    * Coming up: U.S. non-farm payrolls, unemployment rate

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Friday ahead of a
closely watched U.S. jobs report and the metal was set to post
its first weekly gain in four thanks to safe-haven bids amid
political uncertainty in Greece plus robust Chinese demand. 
    Spot gold ticked up 0.2 percent to $1,210.93 an ounce
by 0747 GMT but was below a three-week high of $1,222.40 reached
on Tuesday.
    "Safe-haven demand appears to be rising again as oil prices
slump and concerns grow about Greece exiting the euro,"
ScotiaMocatta analysts said in a note, adding that physical
demand in top consumer China had also been a factor.
    "We are wary that the safe-haven buying may not last if
concerns over Greece subside."
    The metal has gained 2 percent so far this week, snapping a
three-week losing streak, after global equities slumped on
worries over political developments in Greece that could see it
leaving the euro zone.
    Equities have since recovered, prompting gold to give up
some of its gains. Strong U.S. economic data has also hurt.
    The latest safe-haven bids were spurred by concerns that a
Jan. 25 Greek general election would lead to a stand-off between
Berlin and Athens over austerity policies imposed on Greece. 
    The left-wing opposition party Syriza, which wants to cancel
a chunk of Greek debt and the austerity measures imposed after
an international bailout, has a narrow lead in opinion polls.
    Traders were waiting for the release of the U.S. nonfarm
payrolls report later in the day to gauge the strength of the
world's biggest economy. Robust data would dent gold's appeal as
a hedge.
    Strong data could also prompt the Fed to increase interest
rates sooner rather than later, hurting non-interest-bearing
bullion. 
    Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new
claims for unemployment benefits fell last week and job cuts
declined sharply in December, suggesting faster U.S. growth this
year despite a faltering global economy. 
    However, minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting
released on Wednesday indicated that the central bank was in no
hurry to raise interest rates. 
    Elsewhere, in the physical markets, demand from China has
been strong in recent weeks in the build-up to the Lunar New
Year holiday in February, when gold is bought for gift-giving.
    Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange were hovering between
$5 and $6 on Friday over the global benchmark, indicating strong
buying interest.
    
    PRICES AT 0747 GMT
 Metal           Last     Change  Pct chg
                                  
 Spot gold       1210.93     2.3     0.19
 Spot silver       16.33    0.02     0.12
 Spot platinum      1214   -0.49    -0.04
 Spot palladium    789.5     2.2     0.28
 Comex gold       1211.2     2.7     0.22
 Comex silver     16.375   -0.01    -0.06
 Euro             1.1785                 
 DXY              92.325                 
                                  
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months
 
    

 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford,
Alan Raybould and Anupama Dwivedi)
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