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Gold eases on firmer dollar as market awaits U.S. jobs data

Credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV

Gold inched lower on a firm dollar on Thursday, but losses were limited as investors braced for U.S. jobless claims data due later in the day, which should give clues on how much the coronavirus is hurting the world's biggest economy.

(Updates throughout, adds comments)

* U.S. weekly jobless claims data due at 1230 GMT

* SPDR Gold Trust holdings hit highest since October 2016

* Interactive graphic tracking the global spread- open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser

By Brijesh Patel

April 2 (Reuters) - Gold inched lower on a firm dollar on Thursday, but losses were limited as investors braced for U.S. jobless claims data due later in the day, which should give clues on how much the coronavirus is hurting the world's biggest economy.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,588.09 per ounce by 0943 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,603.00 an ounce.

"Both bulls and bears can build a narrative in gold right now, with low inflation, weak physical demand from key buyers and the dollar's strength for the bears and the economic shock, negative real yields and cenbank easing for bulls," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

"The oil price jump is adding some 'risk on' to stocks as well, which is probably reducing demand for gold a little bit."

European shares rose in choppy trading, while crude oil futures jumped 10% after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their oil price war. [.EU] [O/R]

The dollar held onto overnight gains as investors rushed to the security of the world's most liquid currency. [USD/]

Market participants awaited weekly jobless claims report from the U.S. Labor Department due at 1230 GMT, for an indication of the economy's health.

Goldman Sachs expects the jobless claims to jump to a record 6 million for the March 22-28 week.

The United States has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, nearly 188,000 people have been infected and 4,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally of data.

"Should stocks come under pressure over the next couple of weeks as the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. and elsewhere accelerates rapidly, gold may find itself a haven once again for risk-averse investors," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said in a note.

Indicative of sentiment, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.18% to 968.75 tonnes on Wednesday, their highest since October 2016. [GOL/ETF]

Among other precious metals, palladium rose 3.1% to $2,285.58 per ounce on Thursday, while platinum climbed 0.9% to $723.91.

"Auto data out of the U.S. and Europe paint a bleak picture, Chinese data is beginning to show green shoots and should be supportive to palladium and to a lesser extent platinum," MKS PAMP said in a note.

Silver XAG= gained 1.1% to $14.15 per ounce. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: GLOBAL PRECIOUS/ (UPDATE 3)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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