PRECIOUS Gold gains as dollar weakens; U.S. jobs data in focus

2 minute read

A worker places gold bullion on display at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

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  • Palladium heads for worst monthly performance in seven
  • Platinum down over 3%, silver down 5.3% for the month
  • Dollar hits a more than three-week low

Aug 31 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Tuesday, bolstered by a sluggish dollar, with investors now looking to U.S. non-farm payrolls data which could be the key to the Federal Reserve's stimulus-taper decision.

Spot gold climbed 0.5% to $1,818.46 per ounce by 0636 GMT, edging closer to the 3-1/2-week high hit on Monday. Prices were up 0.2% for the month.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,820.40.

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The dollar index slipped to a more than three-week low, extending declines after Fed chief Jerome Powell's dovish remarks at the Jackson Hole symposium last week, where he gave no clear signal on the central bank's tapering timeline.

Gold is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, which can be caused by the massive stimulus measures.

"Gold will inch higher over next couple of days... But once the report finally arrives, it could be a game changer depending on how strong or weak the non-farm numbers are," said OCBC Bank economist Howie Lee.

However "selling pressures will start to build once the tapering process officially kicks in."

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report for August is due on Friday. The market is expecting an increase of 728,000 jobs, unemployment to fall to 5.2% from 5.4%, and average hourly earnings to rise 0.4% month-on-month.

In his remarks, Powell had said that if job growth continues, the central bank could start to cut its asset purchases this year.

"In case of disappointing jobs numbers, gold could break above recent highs and then even $1,900 is possible," said Hareesh V, head of commodity research at Geojit Financial Services.

Silver rose 0.5% to $24.17 per ounce but was headed for third straight month of declines, falling 5.3%.

Platinum gained 0.5% to $1,012.01. It was on track for fourth consecutive monthly loss, sliding 3.7%.

Palladium rose 0.1% to $2,496.28, but was headed for its worst monthly performance in seven months, down 6.4%.

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Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Uttaresh.V

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