Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold extended gains on Friday as the dollar fell against the yen.

That move in currency markets came after a report suggested US President Donald Trump would next take up trade issues with Japan.

Investors also feared a new round of China-US tariffs could come at any moment.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,202.14 at 2.19am GMT, after it hit a nearly one-week high on Thursday at $1,206.98, and headed for a third straight session of gains.

US gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,208.0 an ounce.

The dollar declined further against the yen following a CNBC television report on Thursday that Trump had told a Wall Street Journal columnist he might take on trade issues with Japan.

"The stronger yen versus dollar is leading to some buying in gold…. The recent low of around $1,160 in August is really the bottom in gold for now," said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager, ICBC Standard Bank.

"The next moves will mostly depend on the employment data tonight and the September Federal Reserve meeting. But it mostly looks like gold is slowly coming up and the dollar is coming off as gold is too oversold and the dollar has been overbought."

Another big worry for investors was the end of a public consultation period over trade, after which Trump could impose tariffs on $200bn more in Chinese imports.

China’s commerce ministry warned that the country would retaliate against any new tariff measures.

Meanwhile, markets will be closely watching a US employment report due later in the day for cues on the pace of interest rate hikes by the Fed.

The payrolls report is expected to show a robust rise of 191,000, in part as July was temporarily depressed by the closure of the Toys R Us chain that month.

Current economic conditions are "as good as it gets" for the US central bank, New York Federal Reserve president John Williams said on Thursday, with steady inflation and low unemployment allowing the Fed to continue gradually raising rates.

Oanda analyst Alfonso Esparza said: "Gold faces a quick correction if US jobs data, inflation in particular comes in near or above target. The Fed has hiked two times in 2018 and is on course to lift rates twice more."

Gold has tumbled more than 12% from a peak of $1,365.23 in April. Present levels have recently invoked a lot of physical buying in Asia, traders and analysts said.

Among other precious metals, spot silver rose 0.5% to $14.19 an ounce.

Platinum was steady at $791.40, while palladium fell 0.3% to $975.