Gold edges up, holds tight range ahead of U.S. data


(Recasts, updates prices)

* U.S. non-farm payrolls data due at 1230 GMT

* Dollar heads for a 2% weekly rise

* Interactive graphic tracking the global spread: open in an external browser

By Brijesh Patel

April 3 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched higher on Friday and were stuck in a narrow range as the dollar strengthened ahead of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data that could provide further clarity on the economic damage from the coronavirus.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,616 per ounce by 1205 GMT. The metal has declined nearly 0.5% so far this week after an 8% jump in the previous week.

U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,639.40 per ounce.

"The U.S. dollar is moderately stronger and that's weighing on the gold prices," said Bank of China International analyst Xiao Fu.

"It's still a tug-of-war situation for gold between the virus and the equity markets; when equity markets further sell off, there is request for margin calls again. So it's very unclear if there will be an upward trend, and gold is expected to be range-bound in the near-term."

Safe-haven gains for the U.S. dollar limited gold's advance, with the dollar index edging towards a 2% weekly rise as global recession fears intensify. [USD/]

Focus now shifts to the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due at 1230 GMT. Economists are forecasting job losses of 100,000 for last month, a sharp reversal from gains of 273,000 in February, according to a Reuters poll.

On Thursday, gold gained 1.2% after the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week shot to another record high as more jurisdictions enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the pandemic.

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on Thursday, with more than 53,000 deaths as the outbreak spread further in the United States and the death toll climbed in Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

"Even after the health crisis has peaked, the economic ramifications are set to continue to be a drag on risk assets, with emerging markets being particularly vulnerable," FXTM analysts said in a note.

Palladium slipped 1.5% to $2,179.56 an ounce on Friday, while platinum dipped 0.7% to $722.58. Both metals were set to register a weekly loss.

Silver shed 0.7% to $14.43 per ounce.

European stock markets fell as more companies flagged a hit to business from the virus, foreshadowing a deeper earnings recession ahead of the reporting season. [.EU]

Reflecting investors interest in bullion, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.3% to 971.97 tonnes on Thursday. [GOL/ETF] (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Elaine Hardcastle) ((; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Keywords: GLOBAL PRECIOUS/ (UPDATE 6)

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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