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Gold ticks higher in thin Asia trade as Iran deal, U.S. jobs eyed

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold price rose slightly in Asia on Friday as investors braced for a U.S. jobs report expected to set the timing for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates this year as widely expected, while news of a nuclear deal with Iran was being assessed.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery rose 0.07% to $1,202.60.

Elsewhere, silver for May delivery gained 0.05% $16.748 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery inched up 0.04% to trade at $2.733 a pound.

U.S. markets are shut on Friday, but data on non-farm payrolls will be released. Investors focused on Friday's U.S. employment report, which was forecast to show a gain of 245,000 jobs in March, following an increase of 295,000 in February.

Overnight, gold fell after data showed that the number of U.S. jobless claims fell to a nine-week low last week and that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to the lowest level since 2009 in February.

It remained relatively unchanged after Iran reached a solution on key parameters of a nuclear deal with Western leaders.

Iran and Western powers had reached a deal on the framework of a preliminary Iranian nuclear pact before a final agreement could be reached in late-June.

"This framework would cut off the pathway Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon," U.S. president Barack Obama said at a news conference outside the White House. "This deal is not based on trust, it is based on unprecedented verification."

It is believed that the severe economic and financial sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation will be lifted on a staggered, step-by-step basis depending on how cooperative it is with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Sanctions that have limited the Iranian Banking System will be among the limitations that could be initially removed, NBC News reported.

"The European Union will terminate the implementation of all economic and financial sanction and the U.S. will cease the application of all economic and financial sanctions," EU Vice President Federica Mogherini said at a joint news conference with Iran.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday that initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined by 20,000 last week to a seasonally-adjusted level of 268,000, the lowest level since January. Economists had expected initial claims to rise to 285,000.

The four-week average, considered a better approximation of labor trends, also dropped by 14,750 to 285,500. In addition, U.S. factory orders for February inched up 0.2%, after six consecutive monthly declines. In a separate report released Thursday, the U.S. trade balance decreased from $42.7 billion in January to $35.4 billion in February, amid lower oil prices and a stronger dollar.

Elsewhere, Reuters reported that Greece told its creditors on Wednesday that it could run out of money on April 9. On that date, Greece owes a €450 million payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Greece could meet its obligation to the IMF or repay government salaries and pensions, but might be unable to do both. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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