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Picture: BLOOMBERG/CHRISTOPHER PIKE
Picture: BLOOMBERG/CHRISTOPHER PIKE

Bengaluru — Gold eased on Friday, clinging to the key psychological $1,800 level as the dollar firmed, while investors awaited a key US jobs report to gauge the Federal Reserve’s future policy stance.

Spot gold fell 0.2% to $1,799.84/oz by 3.31am GMT, set for its worst weekly performance since mid-June. US gold futures eased 0.4% to $1,801.80/oz.

“If we get a combination of really solid payroll numbers coming on the back of a hawkish rhetoric by the Fed, I think it’ll spook any interest rate sensitive markets like gold ... That’s why we’re seeing risk reductions right now,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

However, a complete meltdown in gold is highly unlikely and support level of $1,790/oz should hold, he said.

Jitters around tapering set in after Fed vice-chair Richard Clarida’s remarks that conditions for a rate hike could be met in late 2022 and that the central bank could start scaling back on its asset purchase programme this year.

Fed governor Christopher Waller also saw the possibility of reducing accommodative policy sooner than some expected, given the progress in economic recovery and improving labour market.

Higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.

The dollar index drifted higher, making gold less appealing for holders of other currencies.

The US non-farm payrolls report is due at 12.30pm GMT.

Indicative of sentiment, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell to 1,027.61 tonnes on Thursday.

Silver fell 0.2% to $25.09/oz and was down about 1.5% for the week.

Platinum dropped 0.6% to $999.07/oz and was on track for its biggest weekly fall since June.

Palladium was flat at $2,649.71/oz and was headed for a second week of declines.

Reuters

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