PRECIOUS Gold rises on weaker dollar as investors look to U.S. jobs data

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
  • Palladium heads for biggest monthly drop since Jan
  • Speculative financial investors back to gold - analyst

Aug 31 (Reuters) - Gold firmed on Tuesday as the dollar weakened, but its advance slowed as some investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the August U.S. non-farm payrolls data due later this week.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,814.42 per ounce by 2:01 pm EDT (1801 GMT), after hitting its highest since Aug. 4 on Monday at $1,822.92. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.3% at $1,818.1.

The dollar index slipped to a more than three-week low, making gold cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.

Interest in gold has increased after dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole conference on Friday, when he did not to give a firm timeline for the central bank to start cutting on its asset purchase.

"The Fed is going to pull the trigger but there isn't going to be a robust reduction in monetary accommodation over the next few months, so gold should ultimately do okay," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

Still, investors remained concerned over the timeline for tapering in the run up to Friday's U.S. jobs report, which could raise fears over the central bank paring its economic support sooner..

"Having previously turned their backs on gold for a number of weeks, thereby contributing significantly to the price slump in early August, speculative financial investors have now returned," Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said.

Silver eased 0.6% to $23.92 per ounce and was headed for a third straight month of declines, down about 6%.

Platinum rose 0.8% to $1,014.34, but was on track for a fourth consecutive monthly loss, sliding 3.4% so far.

Palladium fell 0.8% to $2,474.66, and was headed for its worst monthly performance since January with a 7% decline.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Swati Verma; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Aditya Soni

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.